San Giovanni Battista

Co-Patron of Pozzallo, Sicily

Est. 2016 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, USA 

About us 

Who is John the Baptist ?
John the Baptist was a contemporary of Jesus who was known for evangelization and his baptizing of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was born through the intercession of God to Zachariah and Elizabeth, who was otherwise too old to bear children. According to scriptures, the Angel Gabriel visited Elizabeth and Zachariah to tell them they would have a son and that they should name him John. Zachariah was skeptical and for this
he was rendered mute until the time his son was born and named John, in fulfillment of God's will. When Elizabeth was pregnant with John, she was visited by Mary, and John leapt in her womb. This revealed to Elizabeth that the child Mary carried was to be the Son of God. John began public ministry around 30 AD, and was known for attracting large crowds across the province of Judaea and around the Jordan River. When Jesus came to him to be baptized, John recognized him and said, "It is I who need baptism from you." Jesus told John to baptize Him anyway, which he did, whereupon the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God was seen like a dove. The voice of God spoke, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." John instructed his followers to turn to Christ, calling Him the "Lamb of God" and these people were among the first Christians. Following his baptism of Christ, John's popularity grew so much that he alarmed King Herod. Herod ordered him arrested and imprisoned. John spoke with Herod on several occasions and condemned his marriage to his half-brother's wife. This condemnation would be his downfall as King Herod promised to grant a wish to his daughter. In revenge for John the Baptist's condemnation of her mother's scandalous marriage to Herod,
she asked for John's head. King Herod reluctantly obliged. John the Baptist died sometime between 33 and 36 AD. John the Baptist's feast day is June 24, and the anniversary of his death is August 29 and is sometimes celebrated with a second feast.


Why do Italian Catholics have Processions?
The word “catholic” means universal. Throughout the world you can find people of every ethnic and national makeup who are members of the Catholic Church. The Church is an expression of the faith Catholics have in Christ as handed down through scripture and tradition. However, not all Catholic communities express their faith in the same way. For Italians, especially, the faith they have is expressed publicly through the signs, symbols and customs of their Roman Catholic religion. Public processions demonstrated their beliefs – and their ethnic distinctiveness – to the wider community. The most public expression of faith is known as the outdoor procession. In these street processions, a priest of the church accompany the faithful of the parish with signing while carrying signs or symbols of their faith in order to celebrate or mark a particular occasion. In Italy the people of every town or city ask to be protected through the intersession of a particular saint (a holy man or woman who has died and is believed to now be in heaven). Devotion to the town patron saint is marked each year with street festivals, religious processions and the celebration of Mass on the feast day of the town’s patron saint.
This Italian way of expressing faith and religious devotion was brought to Carroll Gardens by the Italian immigrants who have settled in this community since 1880. The procession tradition continues in the parish of Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen today, especially during the Holy Week activities preceding Easter and feast days of particular saints.


Where is Pozzallo?
Pozzallo is a town and commune in the province of Ragusa on the island of Sicily in Italy. Pozzallo is a seaside resort and maritine port which is the only commune on the sea in the province of Ragusa, and the most southern in Italy, after the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa. The town lies in a picturesque area of Sicily, with the Iblei plateau in the background and the blue Mediterranean in the front, with a coastline from Punta Raganzino to the sandy beaches of Marza. The economy is mainly based on tourism and on the port, which is the only outlet for the whole province, and offers transport facilities to Malta. The history of Pozzallo is connected to its position on the sea. The Chiaramonte, Counts of Modica from 1296 to 1392, started to develop the harbor as a commercial outpost towards Malta and other Mediterranean destinations, and established warehouses and docks known as "il Caricatore". In the 15th century Count Bernardo of Modica of the Cabrera family ordered the construction of a tower as a protection against the frequent raids of the pirates, and the village rose around the fortress. It became an autonomous municipality in 1829.


The Society of the Citizens of Pozzallo

Was founded December 12, 1919. During its long and rich history, this organization has constantly evolved and adapted to the requirements of its times. Initially, the Society's primary objective was to promote fellowship and friendship among its members, and to educate them to the American ideals in order to transition them to the American way of life and American citizenship. Through the passage of time, the Society has evolved into a not-forprofit 501c3 organization with new ideals that allow it to make contributions to the community by providing assistance to the poor and underprivileged, by promoting the advancement of education and by contributing to other organized institutions of science and medical research.


Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Roman Catholic Parish

Is a faith community welcoming all in the name of Christ, Jesus. We sponsor a wide variety of spiritual, educational, social and outreach programs. Founded in 1866 St. Stephen Parish was merged with the nearby parish of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (the oldest Italian Catholic community in Brooklyn founded in 1882) at the start of construction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in 1941. Since that time the combined parish of Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen has called the majestic Neo-Gothic style church at the corner of Summit and Hicks Streets home. We invite all, no matter who they are, to come visit the church and find a home among us in the midst of the community and in the presence of Christ.

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