NEWS » The Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession

The annual Pocession in honour of “Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo” has been celebrated on Sunday the 17th of July. Thousands of people gathered around St peter’s Italian church and followed the procession which swung around the perimeter of the Church.

People came from different parts of Italy and the UK for this special event. Walking along the streets around the church there were coaches coming from  Woking, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester and Enfield.

As every year a big sagra accompanied the procession. Many stalls were selling typical regional Italian food such as porchetta, arancini, pizza and cannoli, together with Italian wine and cheese while the notes of “Ti amo” by Umberto Tozzi and other famous Italian songs were helping to set up the Italian atmosphere.

Under a harsh sky, between heavy rain and sun spells, the 8 floats marched on parade accompanied by the representatives of the Italian associations: Sutton, Croydon and Epson with Sant’antonio, Lucchesi nel mondo, Aylesbury Italians, Gruppo di preghiera di padre Pio, Parmigiani Valceno, Luton and Dunstable, Parmigiani Val Taro, Lewishham, Enfield, Hoddesdon, Ponders end, Waltham Cross, Walton on Thames & Woking, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Piacenza insieme, Madonna della neve, Circolo trentino di Londra, Gruppo giovani Italiani, Birmingham, Peterborough, Christ with the First Communicants, St Peter’s youth Club and O.G.I.

Since 1896, the procession has been held almost every year, with an interval only during the war years. In fact it appears to have been the first outdoor Roman Catholic manifestation of faith since the time of Henry the VIII's Reformation and it is now one of the few events of its kind in London.

Queen Victoria granted special permission to the local police chief in Holborn for the event to take place.  

 Bakhillonline followed  the preparation of the event on Saturday the 16th when about 20 hard working volunteers set up the floats and the costumes.

In this occasion we talked with Silvia Rapaccioli, a procession’s volunteer for the last 30 years.

Her family came from Piacenza and she was born in the UK. Mrs Rapaccioli (73) walked in the procession since she was a child, then, when she was old enough, she started  to help with the preparation and involved all her family. She met Peter Bertoncini, the procession’s organizer through the church and since then she volunteered every year for  about 30 years.

 A few days before the event we met Peter Bertoncini, the procession’s organizer for the last 30 years. Mr Bertoncini pointed out that there isn’t any more an Italian community living around the church and this makes it more difficult to organize it. The community spirit is no longer the spirit of the local people but there is still a strong sense of Identity due to the common Italian origins.

Young people volunteer less than before because they don’t live close to the church anymore and most of the time they are too busy with work commitments.

Peter Bertoncini chooses the floats teams every year. This year he chose to emphasize the 150 years of Italian unification with the presence of the tricolore theme on the floats.

Bertoncini also told us that the Madonna del Carmelo was chosen because of the time of the year when the festivity occurs and being this time in the summer it would be easier to celebrate in spite of the English weather.

The procession is supported by offers to the church and through the sagra’s income.

Giulia Lombardo

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