St. Michael’s Maria Assunta Society celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to commemorate when God took her bodily from earth to heaven.
The society originated over 300 years ago with Sicilians from Tusa, an ancient citadel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A parish church, built in 1736, has a painting on the ceiling of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven. Each August a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron Saint of Tusa, leads a procession through the streets of Tusa. Soon after Tusanis emigrated to Pawcatuck, the Maria Assunta Society was formed at St. Michael. The first celebration, recorded by the secretary of the Feast Committee, was in August 1920. In 1935, a statue, carved in Genoa, was shipped from Palermo, Sicily.
The Festa includes a Mass, followed by a procession through the streets with a band playing traditional music, concluding with benediction. Along the march, people give offerings for favors granted by the Blessed Mother’s intercession. Funds are used to award scholarships to local students and to celebrate Masses for deceased members of the Society. In 1988, the Society donated funds to build a handicap ramp at the front entrance of St. Michael Church.
Maria Assunta members are distinguished by wearing a purple-colored velvet neck band, holding a gold-colored medal inscribed with images of angels and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Society is open to all men in the parish, regardless of ethnic origins. You no longer need to be from Sicily, or even be Italian. All are encouraged to join.
For more information, visit the Maria Assunta Society website.
Contact: Peter Previty