Celebrating the Feast of St. John
On June 23, the St. John the Baptist Society celebrated their 112th Feast of St. John with a Mass and a procession. The event was held at St. Joseph Church, located on Third Street and French Streets.
The Mass for the Feast of St. John started at around 6:30 p.m. Attendees came and prayed and received blessings. The atmosphere of St. Joseph Church during the Mass was peaceful and welcoming, with many joining in prayer and songs.
The history of the Feast in a religious aspect was that John the Baptist was born around six months earlier than Jesus, and heralded the birth of John.
The St. John the Baptist Society, however, has not had the procession for the saint for 11 years in the town. The special event continued on June 23, with many joining in on the Mass and the procession.
Starting after the Mass at around 7:30 p.m., the procession began in the church. The statue of St. John was featured during the Mass, and was blessed during it. After the Mass had ended, the St. John the Baptist Society picked up the statue, and brought it outside in the parking lot. There, guests from the Mass would see the statue, as well as the police and a band with instruments. The police were at the scene to help usher the procession, and to make sure that traffic stopped for the event. The band, named Colletti’s Band, was made up of different brass instruments and drums, and started playing while everyone was walking out to the parking lot.
Eventually, the procession began. The St. John statue was wheeled out of the parking lot, and into the street. The St. John the Baptist Society followed the statue with three banners, one showing St. John the Baptist, one with the Italian flag and the other with the name of the Society. The band soon followed the Society, with the crowd of people following right behind. The procession went in a loop, starting on French Street and walking towards Second Street. Then the crowd went down Second Street until Pratt Street was in sight. Turning the corner onto the street, the crowd slowly made its way down Pratt Street onto Mt. Carmel Lane. Walking around the festival grounds, the group eventually made its way to French Street once more, with the procession ending at the front of the steps to St. Joseph Church.
During the procession, many guests used a rosary, which is a necklace with beads and the Cross on it. The beads help to say different prayers for the individuals, but many joined together to pray.
Angela Donio was at the procession, and commented on the turnout of the event.
“It’s interesting. It looks like there’s a few younger people … so that’s good,” Donio said.
The younger generation was present during the Feast of St. John, with a few participating in the Mass and also the procession. With the younger generation present and engaged, the long-lasting tradition may continue for years to come.
Once the procession came to an end, the guests and St. John the Baptist Society went back into the church. While there, they prayed to St. John. Once the prayers had ended, The Rev. Jerold C. Mariastanislaus (Father Cruz) thanked everyone who came out to support the Mass and procession, and for having faith.