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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Society members carrying statue of St. Andrew, 1995
Members of the Society carrying statue of St. Andrew in procession, St. Andrew Fiesta, 1995.

St. Andrew Apostle Society

In 1900, Italian male immigrants from the town of Amalfi, who had settled in New Haven, formed the St. Andrew Apostle Society. The society provided members with a forum to gather and to share memories about their heritage, and it also sponsored a mutual assistance program to cover the misfortunes of illness and death. The founders named the society, St. Andrew, after the patron Saint of Amalfi, Saint Andrew, the Apostle.

As members assimilated in their new homeland, the society's role broadened to include civic and community responsibility. Among the projects undertaken by the society were substantial contributions to St. Michael's, the mother church of Connecticut Italians, and its parish church; and to charities in New Haven and in Italy, beginning with a major contribution to victims of the 1908 Calabrian-Sicilian earthquake. Society members, as Americans, have a proud tradition of service in the armed forces during all the major conflicts since 1900. A plaque on historic Wooster Green, near the society's headquarters, attests to those who lost their lives fighting for America.

The once common practice among Italian-Americans to commemorate patron saints of their various villages and towns with liturgical feasts and festivals has vanished in many communities, due to assimilation. However, the St. Andrew Apostle Society since its inception has celebrated the liturgical feast day of St. Andrew with an annual open-air festival at the end of June. Over the years, the celebration has grown to attract thousands of people of many ethnic backgrounds. The society also spearheaded a "sister city" relationship between New Haven and Amalfi, which conducts annual student, cultural and sports exchanges.

Project documentation includes a history of the St. Andrew Apostle Society, newspaper articles, photos, a poster for the 98th Annual Feast of St. Andrew, and a videotape of both the June 1999 Saint Andrew's Feast and the documentary, "Sisters: New Haven Preserves Its Old World Heritage."

Originally submitted by: Rosa L. DeLauro, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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