La Festa Di Santa Fara of St. Louis – A Success Story by Loretta Vitale April

Frank Polizzi (deceased) originally established La Festa Di Santa Fara of St. Louis as a committee in 1997. The members included people interested in preserving the tradition of devotion to patron saints, an important part of Italian culture. Santa Fara is the patron saint of the small town of Cinisi in Sicily. Frank wanted to honor his patron saint and give back to the church in Cinisi and the church here in the USA.  The committee formally organized in 2006 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.  Every year the organization planned a banquet with all the fanfare of a large celebration.  There was dinner, drinks, attendance prizes, and raffles to raise money for the parish church of Santa Fara in Cinisi and St. Ambrose Church in St. Louis.  In 2009, the organization established two scholarships for St. Ambrose Church School, each for $500.

As a result of the banquet and sponsorships, the organization was quite successful in its fundraising efforts. The banquet hosted 200 guests or more every year.  The goal of the organization was to raise $2,000 annually, over and above costs; $1,000 was sent to the church in Cinisi and $1,000 would go St. Ambrose Church School for two scholarships.

The last celebration was on November 1, 2015 beginning with mass followed by the banquet at The Falls Banquet Center in Columbia, Illinois.  That year the banquet and fundraising efforts fell somewhat short of the organization’s goal. However, that would not stop the dedicated Board of Directors and supporters of La Festa di Santa Fara from donating to the two churches.  The Board looked at its bank statement and decided to give the money to the churches as it had done all these past years. The Board was able to raise the money and make up the difference needed. It was considered another successful year.

When it came time to plan the annual banquet for 2016, the Officers decided to try a new approach to fundraising.  It was simple. “We’ll solicit our most dedicated board members, family members and friends,” said Jay DiMaggio, President of La Festa Di Santa Fara.

Angelo Sita had organized a mass in honor of Santa Fara on Sunday, September 15, 2016.  After that mass, several members of the Board and their families met for a casual lunch.  Donations were solicited, raising $700 on the spot. During the next couple of months, Loretta Vitale April, Vice President of the Board, along with Jay DiMaggio, solicited donations from family members and friends.  By Christmas, the organization had raised $2,000. Through the generosity of friends and family, La Festa Di Santa Fara will once again send $1,000 to the Chiesa Madre di Santa Fara in Cinisi, Sicily and $1,000 for two $500 scholarships to St. Ambrose School.

This format of fundraising was so successful that the Board of Directors decided it will continue to (1) honor their patron saint and (2) raise money for a good cause. La Festa Di Santa Fara of St. Louis remains a viable and successful Italian-American organization in this community.  It participates in the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Metropolitan St. Louis and supports Italian cultural activities and events in the St. Louis area.

This year, the mass in honor of Santa Fara is Sunday, September 10, 2017, 11:00 am at St. Ambrose Church on The Hill.  All devotees of Santa Fara, family and friends are encouraged to come and participate in the mass along with the Board of Directors of La Festa Di Santa Fara.

Your donations to La Festa Di Santa Fara of St. Louis are greatly appreciated and can be made by contacting Loretta Vitale April at 314-550-4059 or lapril54@gmail.com.  All donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

 

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