In 1911, our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers came over to America. They formed a society to continue the traditions of Santo Stefano di Camastra and continued the Feast of the Holy Cross. They did so to honor their homeland church. This feast has taken place for over 1,000 years. By doing so, they founded what is now the oldest Sicilian-American Organization in the United States.
Today, the Holy Cross Society is not only the oldest Sicilian-American organization but also the fourth oldest Italian-American organization. The others include:
- Fratellanza Society of St Louis, MO. Founded in 1866.
- St Rocco Di Potenza of Chicago, IL. Founded in 1902.
- Order Sons of Italy of Washington D.C. Founded in 1905.
Since 1911, the organization has bought land and built a celebration area containing a pavilion with a meeting room, dressing room and food stand. A coffee shop run by the Ladies Auxiliary and a chapel. In 1939, They started crowing a Queen of the Feast. Today, the group focuses on bringing Italian Heritage to our children and keeping Italian traditions alive.
Some of the efforts of the Holy Cross Society uses to remember our Italian Heritage are putting on our annual Feast of the Holy Cross at the same time as the our ancestors church, Letto Santo, in September. In 2016, we began an annual Columbus Day picnic. On the Saturday closest to Columbus Day, we raise the Italian Flag in Center Square Easton, PA. After the flag raising, we march to the statue of Christopher Columbus near the river with the Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band. We invite all the area Italian-American Organizations to join us and then invite everyone back to Holy Cross Park for a picnic. We donate money to area charities and the Ladies Auxiliary coordinates a Christmas Present drive for under privileged children.
The Importance of our Organization
I myself am 50% Italian, my children are 25%. The other 75% is mostly German. If you ask my children, 17 and 12 at the time of this article, they will proudly tell you they are Italian, much to their mother’s dismay. They know little about their German heritage and do not have the same type of connection to that heritage. It’s not that we have kept it from them, the importance of heritage just does not exist in that culture like it does in ours. That is why I am proud to belong to the oldest Sicilian-American organization.