One year it was a big event, my Dad, Tony, was asked by his mother to paint a Madonna for the church that could be carried in a procession on a pole. Dad not being a churchgoer did as he was told and we all went off to church one Sunday morning to see the Madonna be paraded out during the Mass, a one-time ordeal for dad.
I happened to like going to this church built by Italian immigrants with marble imported from Italy. It also was a day of pride for me, Dad, my Dad, had painted this masterpiece, and it would be paraded down the main aisle!
There were two events that occurred that day and every Sunday, during the year at Our Lady of Loreto. The first event was the consecration, an event I could wait for, not because I was holy or saintly in any way, but because when the bells rang at the Consecration, a split second afterward, fireworks would go off on the roof to the church! The boom and loudness woke me up to get through the rest of the Mass and the noise scared the living Hell out of me.
The second event was the best! Usually, in the front rows of the church, pews occupied by little Old Italian ladies would chatter and go on in Italian, and the priest would shout out during his sermon-"SILENZIO!" This admonition did not silence anyone, after the shock, off went the chatter once again!
Speaking in Italian the priest would stand at the pulpit and with arms flying and hands emoting, his Italian rising in volume and pitch a group of little old grandmothers would be huddled together speaking in their native tongue rising to hear each other while the priest spoke.
“SILENZIO!” shouted the priest.
The gaggle of grandmothers suddenly cut off their conversation, heads down and feeling contrite. The priest would pick up where he left off, once again bring his point across, arms flying and voice growling in condemnation of all the bad things we do in our lives.
The grandmother pack put their heads together once more and picked up on their gossip, or was it a recipe they were sharing? It would start as chirping and quickly grow due to the insolence of the priest rise to competing until the exasperated priest once more would yell out his admonition for all to hear.
“SILENZIO!” shouted the priest once again.
And so, when the mass was over and the fireworks display by the priest completed, I knew that next Sunday would be like the present Sunday, not even God in all his glory would tell these little ladies what to do if they didn’t want to!