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Festa di San Bartolomeo

San Bartolomeo is the Patron Saint of Aeolians and le Isole Eolie, whose feast day (festa) is celebrated on the 24th of August.

As religion and festivals were an integral part of Italian-life, newly arrived Aeolians sought to
re-create an environment similar to that of their motherland, so religious confraternities were formed to upkeep the devotion to patron saints of their hometown.

The first religious Aeolian confraternity in Melbourne was that of the Madonna del Terzito in Hawthorn in the early 1960s. In the next few years, some of the members of the then S.M.S.I.E founded other confraternities in honour of their Patron Saints: Santo Stefano, San Lorenzo and Madonna della Catena.

It was on the 26 May 1966, through the initiative of Chaplain Padre Don Vincenzo D’Amico, that the Confraternita San Bartolomeo was constituted. The first five annual meetings were held in private houses until the 28th of September in 1971 when they were moved to the Eolian Hall.

The first executive committee consisted of:
President – Bartolo Natoli
Secretary – Antonino Molinia
Treasurer – Marino Casamento;
Chaplain – Padre Vincenzo D’Amico.

In Melbourne, the Festa had beginnings before World War Two at St. Ignatius’ Church in Richmond.
After the war, it was transferred to the former St. George’s Church in Carlton until 1973 when it was decided that it would be held at the Santuario di Sant’Antonio in Hawthorn where San Bartolomeo already had an alter and niche for over ten years.  It is still celebrated to this day at the Santuario di Sant’Antonio in Hawthorn.

Originally, the Festa would start in the morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine, with a Solemn Mass, followed by an afternoon Mass and the Procession of the Statue, which was accompanied by a brass band.
This worked well for many years, but due to dwindling numbers and other contributing factors, in 2015 it was decided that the festivities will be held only in the afternoon.

Although the locations and times may have changed throughout the years, the Festa di San Bartolomeo continues to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the 24th of August; with the accompanying Dinner Dance at the Eolian Hall the night before.

Aug 1978 San Bartolomeo Procession at St Anthony's Hawthorn.
The Festa Proceedings

Today the ladies of the committee of the Societa’ Isole Eolie and of the Confraternita San Bartolomeo, with the collaboration of some devotees, decorate the statue of San Bartolomeo and the main altar at the church with fragrant and colourful fresh seasonal flowers which have always been donated by Charlie Santospirito.

At the end of the rosary, the procession of the statue begins with the participation of the priest, the other religious confraternities present with their banners, of San Bartolomeo, San Lorenzo, Santo Stefano, Madonna del Terzito di Hawthorn, Madonna delle Catene, the band of the Ferrovie dello Stato, and of the numerous attendees.

The religious services conclude with the traditional kiss of the “Vascelluzzu”, the relic of San Bartolomeo, prayers and songs to the patron saint of the Aeolian archipelago.

Inno a San Bartolomeo

Viva San Bartolo – nostro Patrono
Viva l’Araldo – del Redentor
Tutti raccolti – presso al suo trono,
Orsù, cantiamo –  gloria al Signor.

Bartolomeo Santo- noi ricorriamo a te;
Benigno ascolta- la prece e il canto
Di chi t’invoca – pieno di fė.      (bis)

D’Asia e D’America – I’infide sponde
Dove supremo – regna l’error,
Baldo Legge Santa- del suo Signor.

Bartolomeo Santo, Ecc.

Tremano I barberi –freme il tiranno,
Scossi da tanta – nobil virtù,
Martirio atroce – subir gli fanno,
Mentre egli invoca – Cristo Gesù.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc

Le sue pupille – pregne di pianto,
Al Ciel solleva – tutto bontà:
Come il Maestro – sul monte santo,
Perdono implora – sull’empietà.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

In marmo chiuse – le spoglie sante
Un coro d’angioli –portan sul mar
Lipari tutto – corre festante
Il suo Patrono – ad acclamar.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

Tosto si veggono – grandi portenti!
D’ogni paese – d’ogni città
Alla sua tomba – vengon le genti
Ad implorare – tanta bontà.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

D’Italia nostro – la Fede ardente
Che tanto Gloria – le diede ognor
Deh! rinnovella – tra nostra gente
E la richiama – al suo Signor.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

Il tuo esempio – ci sia di stella
Per seguir sempre – la verità :
Tu ci proteggi – nella procella
Quando il nemico – guerra ci fa.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

A te benigno – noi affidiamo
Le nostre gioie – ed I dolor:
Deh! Tu ci ottieni – noi t’imploriamo
La Santa Grazia – del Redentor.

Bartolomeo Santo, ecc.

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