It was a strong showing for reviving Italian-American culture in the North End as over 100 new members were recently sworn in as part of the founding for Lodge #2996 in the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy of America. A formal ceremony was held at the newly restored Saint Leonard Church in Boston’s North End on October 25, 2018 followed by a social reception at the Fisherman’s Club.
OSIA National President Vera Girolani and State President, Antonio Sestito, swore in President Luigi Natale along with a slate of new officers for the North End lodge.
North End Sons & Daughters of Italy – North End Lodge #2996 Officers
Luigi Natale, President
Damien DiPaola, Vice President
John Pregman, Treasurer
Jason Aluia, Orator
Maria Lanza, Secretary
Karen D’Amico, Financial Secretary
Maria Michlewitz, Trustee
Therese Diecidue, Trustee
Salvatore Diecidue, Trustee
Louis Strazzullo, Trustee
Debra DeCristoforo, Trustee
Michael Bonetti, Master of Ceremony
Julia Khoda, Mistress of Ceremony
Maurizio Fabbo, Guard
In addition to the OSIA leadership, also speaking at the swearing in event was State Senator Joseph Boncore and his father, Philip Boncore, past State OSIA President. Many members of the sponsoring Winthrop lodge were also present at the ceremony. Boston City Councilor and OSIA social member, Lydia Edwards, also spoke at the occasion. Hosting on behalf of St. Leonard Church was Fr. Claude Scrima.
Some of the North End Lodge short-term goals include:
- Raise money for scholarships for children of the North End.
- Supporting local sports organizations.
- Local events to bring the community together.
- A parade or block party for the neighborhood.
- A monument in the North End dedicated to immigrants and our Italian ancestors who came to America for a better life.
- An Italian-American cultural center.
The Sons of Italy in America goes back to 1905 as a 501c3 charitable organization that preserves history and culture. Almost 16 million people in the United States identify as Italian-American. Here in Boston, Italians have a rich and storied history, consistently ranking as one of the top five Italian-American populations for cities in the U.S.
The North End, of course, is often the neighborhood most associated with Italian culture, as it’s referred to as “Little Italy,” a title it’s held since the end of the 19th century. The Sons of Italy in America has over 50 chapters throughout the Commonwealth, and its grand lodge was even once located in the North End.
The new Lodge #2996 will have a concentrated focus on the North End, but its mission reflects the national organization’s goals of promoting Italian culture, traditions, language, the legacy of our ancestors, and contributions to the U.S. and the world.
“We are sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers. We are corporate executives and we are union members…young students and retirees…teachers and attorneys…doctors and firefighters…bakers and Wall Street brokers…and everything in between. We are philanthropists and we are model global citizens with purpose beyond ourselves. And we are proud and patriotic Americans.” – Excerpt from OSIA’s Mission Statement.
If you’re interested in joining or simply learning more, the North End Lodge #2996 can be reached via Facebook, Instagram or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. First year dues are $75. The majority goes to the national level to become an official member of the Order. After that it’s $50 a year. Applications are available at the Nazarro Center and you can mail them in to 30 N. Bennet Street. Checks should be made out to North End – OSIA.
All photos by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography.