Representing Nicolosi, Sicily, Italy was Mayor of Nicolosi Nino Borzì, Representation Association of Nicolosi in the World Giuseppe Mazzaglia Assessore Nicolositi nel mondo and Regione of Sicily Representative, Vincenzo La Fata, funzionario regione. The group traveled to Boston over this past Labor Day weekend. The trip was part of project funded by the government of Sicily to trace the roots of immigration of its ancestors from Nicolosi called ‘A’ Merica o’ vicinu” and it was supported by the Federazione Siciliana del Massachusetts. A project of this magnitude required a lot of research and it took a short 14 months to put it all together.
“I was approached by Giuseppe Mazzaglia and with many phone and e-mail conversations we worked together to put this project together. It began with the creation of a book ‘A’ Merica o’ vicinu’ by Giuseppe Mazzaglia which chronicles the journey of the Nicolosi immigrants to Boston.” Said Francesco Daniele member of the Federazione Siciliana del Massachusetts.
“It was our goal to promote the book’s mission to connect the Nicolosi roots to Massachusetts.” Added Daniele.
The group visited Boston which included a tour of the Massachusetts State House and a stop at the Post-Gazette where they met with Editor/Publisher Pamela Donnaruma and discussed the history of the Post-Gazette and its impact made in the Italian communities specifically a hundred years ago when James V. Donnaruma first began publishing the newspaper in the Italian language.
They spent the weekend in Lawrence, Massachusetts in celebration of the Feast of Three Saints (Saint Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino) which is also celebrated in the town of Tre Castagne, Sicily next to Nicolosi. A vast population from Sicily emigrated to Massachusetts, especially in the Merrimack Valley area in the 1900’s.
They were very well received at the feast where they connected with people with roots from Nicolosi and surrounding towns. In fact some discovered that they were distantly related. They also had a chance to tour Jackson Lumber in Lawrence, representing the impact that the Italian immigrants made in the mills and manufacturing industries. They were also invited to partake in the St. Alfio family gathering prior to the feast on Thursday evening. Giuseppe Mazzaglia presented a video presentation Nicolosi, past and present with exclusive clips of families in Nicolosi who have family members in Massachusetts. For some it was a way to connect with their loved ones if only through media. The Nicolosi group had the opportunity to meet many people who were referenced in the book by Giuseppe Mazzaglia.
At that time they presented gifts to Wayne Peters, president of St. Alfio who accepted them on behalf of the members of the society. The Society also presented plaques to the Sicilian guests as a token of their appreciation in recognizing the St. Alfio Feast in Lawrence. Members of the society were thrilled to welcome the overseas guests and felt that their presence connected them even more to St. Alfio’s Sicilian origins.