Scalabrinian Lay Movement Newsletter

Saint Charles Province, vol. I, number 2, November 2000


In This Issue:

º Words of Welcome

º Publicizing the Lay Movement

º News from Florida

º New York Scalabrini Pilgrimage

º Bishop Scalabrini Publication

º Facts & Figures from Toronto

º Upcoming Events


Lay Movement in Scalabrinians

Scalabrinians, the quarterly magazine describing Scalabrini activities around the world, has published two articles of interest to the Scalabrinian lay movement.

            Alcido Fank has an article on The Scalabrinian Lay Movement in North America on pages 13-18 of Scalabrinians’ summer issue.  The article begins with Bishop Scalabrini’s plan to include laity in his work, and goes on to discuss how this plan has been resurrected in the modern world.  It describes specific projects underway, and efforts to provide overall formation and guidance for the movement.

            Pages 22-25 of Scalabrinians’ spring issue profiles a parish that’s part of the Scalabrinian lay movement, Holy Ghost of Providence, Rhode Island. Holy Ghost has a combination of natives and migrants, and of English-, Italian- and Spanish- speaking parishioners.  The article is by Alfred Castinelli.

            For more information about Scalabrinians, contact Father Dominic Rodighiero at Villa Rosa:

3800 Lottsford Vista Road

Micthellville, Maryland  20721

Phone: (301) 459-7866

Fax:  (301) 459-8232


Words of Welcome

This newsletter’s words of welcome come from Bishop Scalabrini:

            The forms of European immigration to America, after the brief and bloody period of the conquest, are entirely different from all other migrations recorded in history.

            Not hordes of barbarians sowing massacre and ruin, but hosts of peaceful workers searching success and forgetfulness. No longer the rushing of a swollen river that sweeps away everything, but the placid spreading out of fecund waters. No longer suppression of nations, but fusions and adaptations in which the various nationalities meet, intermingle, forge themselves anew and give origin to other peoples in which, notwithstanding some differences, certain characteristics and particular religious and civil tendencies prevail as they do in the case of one and the same people. . . .

            The Catholic Church is called by its divine apostolate and by its centuries-old tradition to put its imprint on this great social movement whose goal is the economic improvement and the fusion of the Christian peoples.'

            For more on Bishop Scalabrini, please see page four, where there is a description of a new translation of his published writings and correspondence.  Perhaps this will become Lenten reading for those in the lay movement.



Please note that Father Vincenzo Ronchi has a new e-mail address.  It is:

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News from Florida

(From Sandra Ferreira, in Portugese)'

            ôAqui na Flordia tivemos transferencias de padres. Pe. Carlos foi para N.Y. para assumir uma nova Comunidade, e Pe. Wilmar assumiu a Dire da Missao N. Sra. Aparecida, com a ajuda do Pe. Elias. Na Commjnidade e. W.P.B. Chegou mais um pe. para trabalhar com os Brasileiros.

            ôNos dias, 1, 3 e 3 de Setembro, tivemos os segundo Encontro de Casais com Cristo (ECC), onde contamos com a presen?a de 34 Casais trabalhando como--equipistas--e 31 Casias que vivenciaram a primeira etapa do ECC. Foi um trabalho gratificante, uma experiencia enriquecedora, e a pespectiva de que ? possivel Evangelizar aFamilia, atravez da Familia.

            Em Pompano Beach, A Massao N. Sra. Apaecida comprou um Imovel proprio, onde serß feito reformas para ampliar e melhor aproveitaro espa?o. Acredito, que, segundo os planos da Missao Escalabriniana este novo espa?o tera lugar para diferentes atividades que correspondem as nossas necessidades e realidade como Imigrantes no Sul da Florida.

            No dia 22 de Outubro teremos Celebrao de N. Sra. Aparecida (padroeira do Brasil), na Catedral Santa Maria, em Miami, com a presen?a das Comunidades. Algumas vezes, tentei junto aos Padres, falar um pouco sobre o Grupo dos Leigos; mas verdade ? que nao tive Coragem e nao tirei tempo suficiente para tomar a iniciativa de convidar outras pessoas para fazerem parte do Scalabrinian Lay movement, com o devido acompanhamento.

            A partir das ultimas experiencias, reflexoes e discernimento, entendi com mais clareza a necessidade de se ampliar e fortificar este Lay movement aqui na nossa realidade. Consequentemente fiz um firme proposito de dispensar tempo para encontrar caminos e meios adequados para a existencia deste Movement, aqui.


The next column is in English.  Thanks to Father Vincenzo Ronchi for the translation.)

            In our Scalabrinian Communities down here in Florida, a few changes took place. Fr. Carlos went to New York to provide pastoral care of a new community of Brazilian immigrants. His place was taken by Fr. Vilmar Orsolin, who is now the new administrator of Our Lady Aparecida. Fr. Elias continues to help out at the mission. At our West Pompano Beach community another priest has arrived to work with the Brazilian immigrants.

             From September 1-3, we held a second Marriage Encounter (Casais com Cristo, ECC). It was indeed a gratifying and enriching experience, which gave us hope that it is possible to evangelize a family through the family.

            In the Pompano Beach area, the community of Our Lady Aparecida Mission was able to purchase a hall, a building that we can now consider our own, and a home for the Brazilian community. Some repairs are still necessary to take full advantage of the space.

            It is my opinion that having a meeting place will enable our community to do much more and fulfill our Scalabrinian mission among the many immigrants in south Florida.

            Next October 22, we will celebrate the feast of Our Lady Aparecida (Brazil's patron saint), with a solemn Mass at the Cathedral, of St. Mary's in Miami. All the Brazilian communities of South Florida will be present.

            In the last few months I have tried to talk about our Scalabrinian Lay Movement to some members of the community. I have to confess, however, that I lacked courage and time to take a more decisive initiative and try to pull together a group of lay people interested in the Scalabrinian Charism. I really feel the need of someone else to support me in this effort to promote the Lay Movement.


With the recent experiences, reflection and decisions I had to make, I can now say that I have gained a deeper and clearer understanding of the importance and the urgency of a larger and stronger Scalabrinian Lay Movement in our context. For this reason I vow to spend more time and energies to find different ways to keep the movement alive here in Florida.


New York Scalabrini Pilgrimage

Saturday, September 2, ten people met at Saint Charles Seminary on Staten Island. Participants included Fathers Joseph Fugalo and  Vincenzo Ronchi, seminarians Gilbert Ceiran and Daniele Zoccoroto (Father Fugalo’s guests), and lay movement members Mary Elizabeth Brown, Christine Castillo, Anna Rosa De Lisa, Mario Rodriguez, Juana Rolffort and Matilde Zozzaro.

            The morning began with prayers.  Then each person told the group what he or she had been doing since the last lay meeting, January 22.  The activities were quite varied. Matilde Zazzaro went on a pilgrimage to major Marian sites in Europe, ending with participation in the Jubilee Day for Migrants and Refugees at the Vatican.  Juana Rollfort attended the National Encuentro 2000 in Los Angeles July 6-9, and also visited Tijuana, Mexico, where she visited the home the Scalabrinians maintain for men recently deported from the United States.

            Conversation turned to the lay movement’s next step.  Father Fugalo suggested organizing along ethnic lines. This would reflect different group’s various needs, and Bishop Scalabrini’s historic commitment to helping migrants maintain their language and culture and assimilate to their new society at their own pace. Father Fugalo would work with groups speaking Italian or Tagalog (Filipino), and Father Ronchi with the Spanish-speaking group. Juana mentioned the need for local activity to further interest in the lay movement.  It would be a good idea to begin gathering local groups so that when the formation materials are ready, as they will be in November, there will be groups ready to use them.

            After a lunch prepared by Sister Carm of the Sisters of Saint Charles, the group braved the hot, humid weather to    

see historic Scalabrinian sites in Manhattan. They sailed across the harbor on the Staten Island ferry, and saw some of what Bishop Scalabrini saw in his 1901 pastoral visit: Elizabeth, New Jersey, Jersey City, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Hoboken railroad station.

            At the tip of Manhattan, the group saw the remnants of the system of care for migrants passing through New York harbor:  Castle Garden, used as New York State’s immigrant station before the federal government built Ellis Island, Holy Rosary, the Archdiocese of New York’s ministry for Irish immigrant women, and the site of Leo House, home of the Saint Raphael Society for the Protection of German Immigrants, precursor of the Saint Raphael Society Bishop Scalabrini organized for Italians.

            Although ramps to the Brooklyn Bridge obscured the site of Saint Joachim’s the Scalabrinians’ first New York parish, the group was able to visit Saint Joseph’s on Catherine Street, and to see that multicultural neighborhoods are not new. Saint Joseph’s is in Chinatown, and within walking distance were the Irish parish of Saint James and the city’s first Jewish cemetery.

            The afternoon ended with a trip to Greenwich Village to see Our Lady of Pompei and the first home of the Saint Raphael Society for the Protection of Italian Immigrants, still standing at 113 Waverly Place. Father Fugalo led the group to its last destination, the Cafe Espana on Carmine Street, where a good time was had by all.

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Scalabrinian lay movement members are asked to pray for the Sorrentino family.  Mr. Giuseppe Sorrentino, father of our friend Maria Sorrentino, died June 29, 2000, at the age of eight-five.


New Book on Blessed Scalabrini

In August 2000, the Center for Migration Studies published the first English translation of Bishop Scalabrini’s published writings and correspondence with U.S. bishops. For the Love of Immigrants joins an Italian version published by SEI in 1992. It is hoped that a Spanish translation will appear in 2001.

            Between 1887 and 1899, Bishop Scalabrini published eight pamphlets on Italian emigration. His writings pictured migrants as vulnerable members of society, squeezed out of their homeland’s economy, taken advantage of by steamship ticket sellers and hotelkeepers, and exploited for their labor in their new homes. Most governments, even most Catholic parishes, took care only of those within their borders. Bishop Scalabrini called the Church to expand its horizons. He envisioned clergy who ministered to migrants in their own language. He also envisioned laity who looked beyond their personal borders, assisting compatriots abroad or greeting strangers in their midst.

            Bishop Scalabrini corresponded with Vatican officials and U.S. bishops. Most of his correspondence with the bishops concerns placing priests in their dioceses to serve Italians. His writings to the papacy concern the larger question of how to organize migrant care. His letters to Pope Pius X and Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val outline his proposal for what has become the Pontifical Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People.

Copies are available from:

Center for Migration Studies

209 Flagg Place

Staten Island, New York 10304

Phone:  (718) 987-8994

Fax:  (718) 667-4598




Facts & Figures from Toronto

Alcido Fank of the Scalabrinian Migrant Centre in Toronto, Canada, has sent some interesting information regarding the Center’s work in the past year.

            During 1999, the Centre saw 199 cases. The majority, 57, came from Brazil, and another 27 came from Portugal.  The next largest group were the Filipinos, with 23.  Thereafter, the numbers in the groups become much smaller.  Seven cases came from Sri Lanka, six each from Iraq and the continent of Africa, and three from India.  Two each came from the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Indonesia, Iran, Italy and Trinidad and Tobago.  One each came from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Fiji, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, and the United States.

            Most people visited the Scalabrini Migrant Centre for legal aid. The people who founded the Centre had special interest and expertise in legal matters.  It is also true that immigration is an increasingly complex legal matter.  However, the Centre also provides information and counseling, and aims to intervene with policy makers regarding humane migrant and refugee policies.


Upcoming Dates

November 4: Feast of Charles Borromeo, the Scalabrinians’ patron saint.

November 13: Feast of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who worked with Bishop Scalabrini to aid migrants. Her feast starts National Migration Week in the U.S.

November 28: On this date in 1887, Bishop Scalabrini received the vows of his first missionaries.

December 25: Christmas. Usually around this feast, we remember the Flight into Egypt, the event in which the Holy Family shared most closely the experience of modern refugees.