Holy Angels Church preps for annual festival

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Come one, come all!

That’s the developing theme of members of the Holy Angels Church Summer Festival Committee, who invite all parishioners and friends to the annual Feast of the Assumption celebration on the grounds of Holy Angels Church on Maple Avenue.

The 2013 Summer Festival begins with a kickoff on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. with a steak dinner (pre-paid tickets only at $20 each). Call 245-4707 or 245-7743 for tickets and more information. Tickets will be sold in advance following Masses; they will not be sold at the door.

The Feast of the Assumption has been going on in Barrington for generations and this latest edition promises to be as enjoyable and entertaining as past festivals.

On Friday and Saturday night, Aug. 16 and 17, starting at 6 p.m., the festival fun begins under the big tent on church grounds. There will be lots of great foods, games, raffles, a baked goods table, musical entertainment and children’s games. Also, at one end corner of the tent will be a white elephant sale of many treasures and there will be an array of books, CDs, tapes, household items and lots more. Call Luigi at 245-5911 for a $50 big ticket raffle.

The Feast Mass will be held Sunday, Aug. 18, at 10:30 a.m., at Holy Angels Church. This will be followed by an outdoor procession (weather permitting). Those participating in the procession will return to the church for benediction, which will conclude all activities.

People came from Boston

“We started this festival over 20 years ago,” said festival committee Chairwoman Barbara St. Angelo. “Years ago, the festival was much larger and we had a huge carnival and the procession was very large. People would come down from Boston to process.”

Ms. St. Angelo, who credits her entire committee for their unselfish dedication and contributions toward the success of the festival, remembers when the Feast of the Assumption was as big as any summertime event in town.

“As a kid, I always looked forward to the festival and the fireworks at Chianese Field,” she recalled. “At that time, it was a week-long event and many families would get together on the weekend and family members would travel from all over to attend cookouts. We would have several priests attend on Sunday, and my mom, who was the cook at the rectory, would provide many meals for them.”

According to archival information, Holy Angels Church has a fascinating history. In the 1880s, there was a severe economic depression in Italy and large numbers of Italians migrated to the United States. A significant number came to Barrington to work in the brickyard and they settled near the brickyard along Maple Avenue.

In the early 1900s, the Italian population was large enough to merit its own church and, in 1913, Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church was founded on Maple Avenue. The land for the church was donated by the brick company in hopes that parishioners would purchase house lots near the church, which they did.

The Italian populace in town celebrated the Feast of the Assumption with much reverence and devotion. Holy Angels Church flourished under the leadership of several dynamic pastors.

Publicity Chairwoman Beverly Romano, like Ms. St. Angelo, has been involved in this celebration for many years. She agrees that the time and effort each committee member puts into the event are the keys to the summer festival’s success.

“Each year many dedicated parishioners team up for a successful weekend and great community spirit,” she said.

Everyone has their fingers crossed that good weather will prevail in order to ensure another great turnout.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.