Saint Francis Society of Ambler Celebrates 100th Year with Weekend-Long Festival and Tradition

The Saint Francis Society of Ambler celebrated their 100th year of the Saint Francis festival with a weekend-long series of tradition and events that culminated with:    High Mass and Predica with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at St. Jospeh’s Roman Catholic Church, a procession from church through the streets of Ambler with the St. Francis statue accompanied by the Verdi Band,  the final destination being LRB Sons of Italy Club,  a “Cicerata” blessing of over 1000 pounds of  “pasta è ceci” that was served and Mayor Jeanne Sorg and the Mayor Salvatore Paone of Maida, Italy who is in town for the special event, exchanged greetings and each spoke.  Ambler and Maida are considered ” sister cities” because of their bond between their devotion to St. Francis.

Many of the Italian immigrants that live in Ambler, came from a small town in southern Italy in the province of Calabria, named Maida. They brought with them, their devotion of their Patron Saint, St. Francis born in Paola, a neighboring town. Formally known as San Francesco di Paola in Italy, the group decided to use the English translation of his name, St. Francis.

In keeping with the traditions of their hometown of  Maida, the St. Francis Society of Ambler incorporated the most important elements honoring St. Francis with the Mass, Predica (inspirational homily), procession with the statue of St. Francis accompanied by a band, the devotional dinner of “Pasta e’ Ceci” (pasta and chick peas) and musical entertainment. These main events have always been free, open to the public and kid friendly.  This year’s Centennial Celebration brought in some new elements to highlight this prestigious milestone, as well. Those highlights included:

  • First Time for Archbishop Charles J. Chaput as the main celebrant of the Mass.
  • Presentation of the newly refurbished St. Francis Statue that includes the an authentic relic acquired by Reverend Eugene Tully pastor of St. Joseph’s of Ambler that was encased onto the statue itself.
  • Devotional dinner preparation this year will top over 1,000 pounds of pasta.
  • 30 Pilgrim delegation coming from Maida, Calabria, Italy to include their mayor, Salvatore Paone and parish priest, Don Angelo.
  • “Fiaccolata” Candle Light Procession back to church with the St. Francis Statue.

Father Tully added:

“Since coming to St. Joseph’s Parish in 2006 this spiritual event has continued to be one of my favorite annual events of the year…This year is most significant since we will be joined by his Excellency, Archbishop Chaput. Also, on a personal note it will be especially gratifying to see the unveiling of the refurbished statue of St. Francis with the enclosure of the Saint’s authentic relic.”

Video of the traditional procession, posted by the St. Francis Society is below:

Over 1000 pounds of pasta was prepared for the feast:

Channel 1o News also highlighted the festival last night, a clip can be seen below:

Feature photo from Channel 10 video above.