Newsletter of the ITALIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY November
Christmas Party and
Annual Election of Officers
Monday, December 6, 1999
Pietro Fern, our President, is currently recovering at home from double by-pass surgery done at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis. Pietro is doing well, and I encourage each of you to keep him and his family in your prayers. He has dedicated many years of service to the Italian Heritage Society and was one of its founding fathers.
Since our last newsletter, we have lost another dear friend, Pasquale Leraris. Pat’s death comes after a long fight to overcome his illness. Pat always had a warm smile and a hardy handshake whenever I saw him. He will definitely be missed.
Our 1999 year of events will end with our Christmas Party on December 6, 1999 and the election of our Officers and Board of Directors for the year 2000. I am sure Pietro is thankful to each of you for the support you gave him over the past year. It takes a lot to run your organization and without the help of many people, this organization could not exist. Likewise, without your membership and participation in the events, we could not have been a success. May God bless each of you and your families each and every day of the year.
Our Columbus Day Dinner Dance was held on October 15th at Primo South. Once again there was a lot of great Italian food and excellent service from Dave Page and Matt Iaria’s staff at Primo South. Ray Massa and the Eurorhythms provided the Italian music until the end of the evening. The Mate lana Scholarship winners, Gabrielle Campo, Gus ComeHa, Mike Divita, Carmelina Pizzi, Timothy M. Roth, and Kristen Sears along with their families, were recognized. Dr. Tom Cortese and Ralph Tambasco were honored for their years of service to the Italian Heritage Society and received special plaques from our President, Pietro Fern. Father John Sciarra, founding pastor of St. Barnabas. Indianapolis (now retired) who has been our chaplain and principal celebrant at the Rosary, Mass, and Picnic at Our Lady’s Chapel in The Meadow, was presented a plaque with the Chapel in The Meadow prayer inscribed on it. We recited the prayer as Sol Petruzzi lead us in English and Angelo Piga in Italian.
My hat goes off to the organizers of this event, each of the almost
140 people who attended, and the great support we received from the Italian
business community with their ads in our program. Please pick up a copy
of our program at our December 6th Christmas Party and support the Italian
The Mate Iaria Scholarship Fund continues to be a keystone of our society. This past year we provided six $1,000 scholarships to some of the most promising Italian youth in our community. Many of our past recipients have completed their degrees and are making positive contributions to education, business, and other fields in the world around us. Again, just like anything else in this society, it takes a great deal of work to keep this fund going. We would like to thank Monarch Beverage Company, Coca Cola Company, and Brown Forman Distillery for the $1,500 contributions from each of them. A thank you also goes out to the Holy Rosary St. Joseph Day table for its $1,000 contribution. Let us remember that an important part of the scholarship program is to promote our Italian Heritage through these young people as they take important roles in our society and as parents.
Membership Dues and Cards
On November 1, 1999 the Board of Directors unanimously approved changing the membership year to correspond with the calendar year. This means membership dues will be billed in December each year and will cover the period of January 1 through December 31 rather than the July 1 to June 30 period that we had in the past.
Due to this change, the Board of Directors also approved extending the paid dues status through December 31, 2000 for all members who paid their dues based on the billing notes sent out in July, 1999. This means that these members will receive six months of free membership! However, we will accept donations from these members if they would like to make a contribution. The remaining members who have not renewed their memberships will be sent another renewal notice. When they pay their dues, they will be covered for the year 2000 calendar year. Likewise any new members that paid their dues since July 1, 1999 will be considered paid members through December 31, 2000.
Dr. Tom Cortese, our Membership Committee Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors, is also working on obtaining membership cards that will be issued annually to every member.
Newsletter Editor Needed
Vince Accetturo, a 15-year old sophomore at Carmel High School, has been the L'Italia Newsletter editor for the past two years. We are looking for an energetic individual(s) to replace him. Access to a computer is essential to do the job. The newsletter is published four times yearly. Editing, proofreading, and writing skills are also helpful in doing this job. If you are interested please call Vince @ 848-7798, and he can give you more information on how you can get involved in this exciting opportunity to help out the Italian Heritage Society.
Vince, thank you for taking on this responsibility and working it around your already busy schedule. Also thanks to his mother, Dr. Christine Accetturo, for helping Vince edit the newsletter.
Largest Crowd Even Attends 10th Atterbury POW Reunion
By: Dr. Jim Divita
Jim Divita, IFISI vice-president, felt the drizzle and turned to Sol Petruzzi, event organizer, and said, "Rain this year, Sol." Sol looked up at the faithless Jim and responded, "I reminded Mary a little while ago that this is holy business, and that she should hold back the rain for the duration." As First Sergeant Tom Bruno, Indiana National Guard, opened the program at "Our Lady’s Chapel in the Meadow" on Sunday, August 8, the drizzle ceased. It was close, folks, but for the tenth year rain did NOT disturb Rosary, mass, and picnic; in fact, the sun broke through the clouds as we all headed to the food tent after the program.
Over three hundred stood for the posting of the colors and the singing of the American and Italian national anthems. Father John Sciarra opened the rosary; Nino Morone, Catenina Piga, Gus Stinnet, and Sot Petmzzi recited four decades, and Maria Creazzola Lawrence led the fifth decade in Italian. During the rosary, Gus and Charles Comella, Carmelina Pizzi, and Timothy Roth carried the Blessed Mother statue in Italian fashion to pictures of the glorious mysteries located on the western periphery of the chapel grounds. Cross bearer was Michael Divita. They were accompanied by members of the Bishop Chatard Assembly, Fourth Degree, Knights of Columbus and Boy Scout Troop 441 from St. Pius Parish, Indianapolis (Vince Catania, assistant scoutmaster). Joanne Ragusa Roth sang touching renditions of Ave Maria and Hal/Mary, Gentle Woman.
Father Sciarra then led us in reciting a prayer to the Blessed Mother which he had composed for our tenth anniversary.
Concelebrants at mass were Father Sciarra and Father Kenneth Taylor, pastor of Indianapolis’ Holy Trinity parish and director of the Archdiocesan Office of Multicultural Ministry. Father Kenny’s homily reminded us that God is always with us, especially in small things and places like this chapel. Angelo Piga and Jim Divita read Scripture in alternating Italian and English lines, and Sergeant Bruno presented the petitions. IHSI President Pietro and Silvana Fern brought up the Offertory gifts (while the organist played the lovely Inno alla Madonna). Eucharistic ministers were Sol Petruzzi and Ruth Stinnett of Holy Rosary parish, Indianapolis. John Rice, Mike Dugan, and Margie Shaw from St. Louis de Montfort parish in Fishers, were joined by IHSI members Vince Accetturo, Aldo and Ada Mina, and Erna DeCecco, provided our really remarkable musical program.
After Mass, Bruno introduced Colonel Charles L. Adams, post commandant; former Italian POWs Libero Puccini (now of Cleveland) and Gennaro Chimienti (now of New York), and POW widow Mrs. Tereasa Tedesco (of Jeffersonville) and her eight sons and their families; Paul "Jerry" Roland, vice-consul of Italy for the State of Indiana and IHSI board member; special guests Indiana German heritage Society President Ernestine Dillon and her husband Frank, Vice-president Eberhard Reighman, and board member Ruth Teichmann; and Matthew lana, who presented the 1999 Mate lana memorial scholarship fund recipients with their scholarship checks. Bruno concluded the formal proceedings with a history of the chapel.
All then lined up at the food tent buffet table, supervised by Matthew lana and Martha Petruzzi and assisted by Dann and Mary Ann Petruzzi Lowe, Donna Petruzzi Ranney, and Indiana National Guard members. Several fine local eateries donated special items, and IRS! members and friends brought a favorite dish. Transporting the restaurant donations to the food tent were Anna Maria Shirey, Paolo Peduzzi, Vince .Catania, and the Lowes. Grazie mule a tutu.
After our picnic meal, attendees participated in the bocce competition supervised by Angelo Piga (Ray Povinelli and son were the champs) or joined the Guard’s bus tour of Camp Atterbury and the newly-dedicated Veterans Memorial Museum.
IHSI members and friends are reminded that although Rosary, Mass, and
picnic at the chapel are once-a-year activities, the chapel is available
all year round as a special place of religious devotion in our ethnic tradition.
Chapel in the Meadow Burns
The POW Chapel built by Italian POWs in 1943 was a target of an arsonist on September 2, 1999 and another attack on September 10, 1999. The second attack on the chapel took place within minutes of workman leaving the site for lunch after making some temporary repairs on the charred chapel roof.
Sol Petruzzi and John Accetturo representing the Italian Heritage Society;visited the damaged chapel at Camp Atterbury on October 2, 1999 to examine the fire damage. The roof and the ceiling inside the chapel were extensively burned. Smoke damage in the interior of chapel damaged the altar and all the interior walls. All of the paintings on the walls were damaged and the ceiling painting was completely destroyed. The front bulletproof doors of the chapel were also completely ruined by the smoke and heat. Burned landscape timbers and grass outside the chapel showed trails of the accelerant used to start the fires. Our reactions to what we saw was sadness and a heavy heart. Since 1990, our society has had an annual Mass, Rosary, and picnic at the chapel with the ongoing support of the Indiana National Guard. The event for next year is in question unless the chapel is repaired.
A donation drive has been established to fund repairs for the chapel.
Please send your contributions to: Donations- Camp Atterbury POW Chapel,
Building I Attn: Cheryl Synder, Edinburgh. IN.46124-.1096. Chapel.repairs
and installation of a security system and fence are currently estimated.
As you know the Italian Heritage Society has a web site at http://www.italianheritage.org. Its creator Denise Lipusch developed and maintained the site since its inception last year. We are currently looking for a replacement for Denise. If you are interested in donating you skills to maintain our web cite please contact John Accetturo at 848-7798.
Our many thanks go out to the following Italian Restaurants for their generous donations of food which helped the 10th Annual Italian POW, Our Lady’s
1351 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis
Bacco Italian Restaurant
1260 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis
Iaria’s Italian Restaurant
317 South College Avenue, Indianapolis
II Gargano Italian Restaurant
1300 East 86th Street, Indianapolis
2340 East 116th Street, Carmel
23 1 South College Avenue, Indianapolis
Primo Banquet Hall & Catering
2300 East National Avenue, Indianapolis
Please remember to support these fine
"Our Lady’s Chapel in the
Lady’s Chapel in the Meadow. They were far away from country, families, and
at Our Lady’s Chapel in the Meadow. Grant us spiritual guidance into a world of
peace. We ask this through your son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O benedetta Madre di Dio, durante la seconda guerra mondiale i prigionieri italiani confinati allaccampamento Atterbury hanno construito la Cappella della Nostra Signora nel Prato.. Erano lontani dal paese, . dalle famiglie, e dalle case, pregando per la pace. Devoti a te, Maria, hanno implorato la tua protezione.
of the Italian Heritage Society
President John V. Accetturo
Vice President Dr. James Divita
Treasurer Nino Morone
Secretary Matthew Iaria
Dr. Thomas A. Cortese, Jr.
Paul Jerry Roland
Additional nominations may be made at the December 6, 1999
meeting or by contacting Matt Iaria prior to the meeting.
The first Board of Directors meeting will be on Monday,
January 10, 2000 at Holy Rosary Church.