Pontelandolfo Community Club Celebrates Italian Heritage In Waterbury

Member of the Pontelandolfo Community Club carry the statue of San Donato up the final steps towards their chapel Sunday afternoon.

By John Murray

   The Pontelandolfo Community Club is staging the Festa Di San Donato in the North End of Waterbury through Sunday night. The day began with a traditional Catholic Mass and Procession from at St. Lucy's Church on Branch Street. The mass began at 10:30 am and was celebrated in Italian.

  The procession included several hundred members of the Pontelandolfo Community Club carrying a statue of San Donato from St Lucy's Church to the Ponte Club two miles away. Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura attended the mass, and the procession was led by Bishop Peter Rosazza, and included U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Board of Aldermen president Paul Pernerewski, and Democrat nominee for mayor, Neil O'Leary.

   Fireworks will fill the sky at 10:00 pm on Sunday (weather permiting). The fireworks will be orchestrated by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale.

Inside St. Lucy's Church in Waterbury.

The procession began at the end of the mass when four men carried San Donato down the aisle.

Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura attended the mass at St. Lucy's Church.

Making sure San Donato is protected from the rain.

Antonio Rubbo, left, is the president of the Ponte Club, and was all smiles that the rain held off.

The procession dodged puddles and pot holes through the North End of Waterbury,

Members of the Ponte Club took turns for the honor of carrying the statue of San Donato.

Despite heavy humidity, and light rain, there was laughter throughout the procession.

Ponte women marched in the procession and had the opportunity to carry the statue along Farmwood Road.

The future of the Ponte Club is in the hands of the youth.

The procession passed the construction site of the new Jonathan Reed School on North Main Street.

Marching through the North End of Waterbury.

Getting the youth involved in the procession is critically important to carry on the tradition.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, right, hiked along the two-mile procession route talking politics, assisting with umbrellas, and even helped carry the statue of San Donato up a steep hill towards the Pontelandolfo Community Club.

The procession became rural after getting to Farmwood Road.

Near the end of the two-mile hike the procession walked past two enourmus O'Leary For Mayor signs, which got a big laugh out of Bishop Peter Rosazza, O'Leary, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal helped lug the statue up the hill towards the community club.

Senator Blumenthal said it was hot out, but the weather didn't compare to the heat he'd experienced in Washington D.C. during the debt ceiling crisis.

Father Ronald Ferraro enjoyed the day.

Ponte Club members listen to Bishop Peter Rosazza.

 

Background information about the Pontelandolfo Community Club from their website....

   In the hills of Sannio, midway from Naples to Campobasso, in the province of Benevento, rises the town of Pontelandolfo. The village's name is derived from the Pontis Landulphi, - the "bridge of Landolfo". The bridge, probably over "L'Alenta" River, was defended to his death by the warrior Landolfo, as the villagers escaped or hid safely from the invading Romans. Landolfo's heroism is symbolized in the crest of the village and the logo of the Pontelandolfo Community Club of Waterbury, CT, which depicts a warrior armed with a spear while standing on a "ponte" or bridge.

   From the beginning of the 20th century on, the immigrants from Pontelandolfo found a new home in the United States and particularly in Waterbury, CT, and maintained the strong native bond of their "paese" by establishing the Pontelandolfo Society in 1930, followed by the Pontelandolfo Social Club in 1939. These two groups merged together in 1965 to form the Pontelandolfo Community Club. In 1985, the Ponte Women's Club was formed.

   The Ponte Club has grown from humble beginnings to a sprawling 35 acre+ complex complete with soccer field, four indoor heated bocce courts with a fireplace, two outdoor pavilions for functions. At various times we have offered the use of our facilities to local soccer teams and bocce courts for the under privileged.

   The Ponte Club private room was recently remodeled in 2003 and has an elegant mahogany and granite bar with marble and granite flooring and a fireplace. The banquet hall can seat 700 comfortably and provides services such as weddings, private parties, fundraisers and corporate events.

   In addition, the Ponte Club donates food and services and, whenever possible, make monetary contributions to several global disaster relief and local social service agencies such as St. Vincent DePaul Shelter, Special Olympics ,St. Lucy's Church to name a few. On the educational front, both the Mens and Womens club award scholarships to children of members based on academic achievements.