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Festa Della Madonna




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Every year at the end of May the community celebrates “la festa della Madonna.” Below is an article about one such celebration.
Viva La Festa Della Madonna! Another Community Celebration
By Giovanna Mingarelli

Viva la festa della Madonna! Come rain or shine over the years the festival at Madonna della Risurrezione has brought together many of the Italian families in Ottawa for fun-filled days of socializing, singing, dancing and eating.

In the beginning, the festival was only held on a Sunday and was limited to the front of the church on Fisher Avenue. Now the festival lasts for three days and three nights in the front and back of the church accompanied by a large variety of performers. The parish has come a long way since its establishment in November of 1978.

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(Photo: Oliviana Mingarelli) In May 2002, over 500 people attended Madonna della Risurrezione’s annual festival. Highlights included a procession, musical entertainment and lots of good food!

The parish was originally founded by Alice Bartolo, an Italian spokesperson for all Italians desperately searching for a place of worship. Bartolo approached one of the priests within the community about the issue of celebrating the Eucharist in Italian. Not long after, on the first Sunday of November 1978, the first mass was held in the gymnasium of St. Victor’s School. The parishioners grew in numbers with the passing years and finally in April of 1984 Madonna della Risurrezione was officially granted the status of “parish.”

Now, eighteen years later, the parish consists of more than five hundred families – many of who have strong ties with one another due to the many social events and weekly masses organized by devoted parishioners. What is really wonderful is that the festival has become so popular that it is no longer exclusively for Italians, but has become much more multicultural. It is so great to see people of different nationalities taking enough of an interest in Italian culture to join in and celebrate.

Throughout the years I have attended many of the Madonna della Risurrezione’s festivals and have enjoyed myself thoroughly each time. However, when I had the pleasure of attending last year’s festival, I was absolutely amazed. Just when I thought the festival could not possibly get any better, the organizers managed to make it so!

Inside an arrangement of white tents was a glorious selection of baked goods and a lovely craft table, both of which were prepared by the ladies of the parish in order to raise money for the church. Sounds of singing and laughing filled the tents at the back of the church as people gathered to eat pasta, steak and sausages, as well as a wide variety of different and delicious foods.

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The front of the church was completely dedicated to entertaining the younger parishioners. There was an assortment of games, sweets and entertainers, including cotton candy, a jumping air mattress and a magician! Even the teens enjoyed themselves just socializing and eating.

I spoke with parish priest, Padre Antonio Pannunzi, about the upcoming festival in late May. He explained that there will be the same traditional parade on the Sunday, as well as the tents with the crafts, baked goods and delicious food.

Padre Pannunzi stressed that this year they are really trying to do more for the younger crowd at the festival and from what I hear the organizers will certainly be successful. Along with the regular candy stands and small rides, an illusionist, a new band from Montreal and a variety of dancers will visit. There will also be a karate presentation, a performance by a local Nepean band and last but not least a reptile exhibit.

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