“IT WILL HAPPEN!” THE “100+1” SAINT SEBASTIAN’S CHURCH FESTIVAL IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY 13-15, 2022.
"It will happen," stated Tri-Chairman Dr. Gene Nocera at the opening of the "Century of Devotion" exhibit at the Middlesex County Historical Society last December 9, 2021 regarding the 2022 Saint Sebastian's Church Festival. Nocera stands by his earlier comments he made and believes this year's festival is 100% guaranteed despite the Omicron Subvariant BA.2. Nocera stated ¨We see no indication that the Omicron will affect the feast. I don´t see that it will happen.¨
The 2ndTri-Chairman Sal Nesci agrees with Nocera’s 100% assessment that the feast will happen. Nesci commented “Ït seems like the pandemic situation is well under control. The numbers are very low and manageable¨ and he is asking residents “to use prudence and good judgment regarding their health.” Nesci pointed out that the church “will have masks available to make people feel comfortable if they want to wear it.” Nocera noted that wearing a mask inside the church will be voluntary. Plus, there will be hand sanitizing stations available during the feast both inside and outside according to Nesci.
The church will be following guidelines from the CDC, the CT DPH and the city’s health department according to Nocera & Nesci. Nesci stated, “Whatever the guidance is given to us from the CDC, the state & the Middletown Health Departments we will follow.” Nocera pointed out there are “No restrictions for crowds gathering outside.”
This year the Saint Sebastian Church festival will be commemorating 101 years & because last year’s celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19 church organizer Phillip Pessina stated, “Our Feast Committee decided that since we cancelled our Feast which would have been our 100th, it was decided to entitle the 2022 Feast as “100+1.”
Nocera explained “We will be celebrating the 101stanniversary with all of the past events that occurred before including the High Mass, the carnival, vendors, the food auction, showmobile, kiddie rides. It will be all there.”
The highlight of the 3-Day feast will be the High Mass in honor of Saint Sebastian beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday and it will be broadcast on local radio stations WLIS/WMRD-AM 1150 & 1420.
The celebrants for the mass will be Monsignor Leszek Janik of the Diocese of Norwich and Pastor Father James Thaikoottathill.
At the conclusion of the High Mass the “Nuri" will run into the church proclaiming the Italian phrase “E Chiamamulu Paisanu! Primu Diu E Sammastianu!” translated to English it means “He's one of our own! First God and then Saint Sebastian.” According to Nuri organizer Joe Spatola approximately 300 "Nuri" from around Connecticut will be participating in the annual "I Nuri Run" on Sunday. Plus, two buses from Pennsylvania & Massachusetts will be coming on Sunday for the event. Nocera stated “About an additional 50 runners will be participating from out of state who come on the buses.”
The entertainment for the 3-day feast will include regional bands according to Nesci. On Friday night from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. the “We 3 Trio” band will perform with former & retired Coginchaug Regional High School Band Director Dean Coutsouridis as a band member. According to Middlefield resident Bill Currlin he commented about Coutsouridis' musical abilities. "He has one of the most sought-after bands around. There are only three of them, but he adds (very artistically) all different instruments which he plays and records. Dean was well liked in CRHS and now very well liked everywhere. “We three” plays all over and often. I recommend that you... go to hear them. All popular songs and a good time!" Coutsouridis retired from RSD-13 in 2016. The other band members are Joe Cannata & John Morello.
On Saturday from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Enzo Boscarino will be strolling the church grounds playing Italian music. On Saturday night the “Sound Alternative” an Italian band will play from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Plus, local parishioners Joe Muzik & Lou Aresco will serve as DJ's during the feast according to Nesci. They will be playing both Italian & American music.
As a public service the city’s fire & police departments will be at the corner of the festival “so the kids could see the inside of their vehicles and there will be no admission fee,” according to Nocera.
An outdoor reception for the “Century of Devotion” exhibit about the Saint Sebastian's Church festival will take place on Saturday, May 7that the Middlesex County Historical Society beginning at 12 p.m. According to Executive Director Dr. Jesse Nasta “The Middlesex County Historical Society will host a free concert by Sam Vinci as part of the St. Sebastian Feast centennial celebrations. Middletown-based musician Sam Vinci, who has provided music for the Feast here for seven decades, will play music from Melilli,
Sicily with his five-piece band. The event will be held in the backyard of the historical society's General Mansfield House, at 151 Main Street in Middletown. Please enter the backyard through the gate in Spear Park, at the corner of Main and William streets.” Nasta commented that people will be able to view the "Century of Devotion" exhibit on May 7 either during or after the concert. The display will be up until the Fall 2022 and the hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm- and by appointment from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
To get a preview of the bands and performers for the 2022 St. Sebastian’s Church “100 +1” Festival please see the following websites:
If you have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 Virus, please get your shot. If you have please do not forget to get your booster shot too. To find out how please go to https://www.vaccines.gov/
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