The North End feasts will not take place this summer due to COVID-19

"I know it will be difficult to imagine a summer in the North End without our festivals and traditions," read a statement from Fisherman's Feast.

Fisherman's Feast
Participants of the Fisherman's Feast lift the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help) at the start of the Grand procession of la Madonna. –Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

Summer in Boston will be noticeably different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a harsh reality that is now being felt in the North End as the neighborhood’s annual summer feasts have been canceled.

On Thursday morning, Fisherman’s Feast shared a Facebook post announcing the news.

“For 110 years, the Fisherman’s feast of Boston has celebrated the feast of our beloved Madonna del Soccorso, from our blessing of the fleet and family night on Thursday, to our grand procession and flight of the Angel on Sunday,” the post read. “Unfortunately due to the current pandemic and restrictions put in place by the City of Boston, we have been forced to cancel this year’s feast. I know it will be difficult to imagine a summer in the North End without our festivals and traditions, but now is a time that we must look to the Madonna and all the patron saints to help us all get through these troubled times. It is with our devotion, prayers, and beliefs that we will all make it through this together and stronger.”

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Dear Family and Friends of the Madonna Del Soccorso Society, It is with a heavy heart that we send out this letter…

Posted by Fishermans Feast Boston on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Fisherman’s Feast, which is organized by the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca of Boston Society, is Boston’s oldest continuous Italian festival. It was originally scheduled for August 13 to 16.

St. Agrippina’s Feast (July 30 to August 2) also announced its cancellation in a Facebook post on Thursday, stating that “Like our fellow societies in the North End, we are absolutely crestfallen that ‘Feast Season’ (as it is better known known as in these parts) will not occur in typical fashion.” It announced it would celebrate its 107th anniversary from July 29 to August 1, 2021.

Other North End feasts have announced their cancellations. In an undated post on its website, the organizers of St. Anthony’s Feast, one of the North End’s largest celebrations, shared that it had canceled both the St. Anthony and St. Lucy Feasts, stating that it had reached this decision with the City of Boston.

“For over 100 years, Saint Anthony’s Feast has celebrated faith, family, community, and tradition in the North End of Boston,” read the statement, which was signed by the members of St. Anthony’s Society. “During this current crisis, these values have special meaning that will guide us.”

The post also shared that it was planning virtual feast events in August, and that it was working on the centennial of Saint Lucy’s Feast for August 26 to 29, 2021.

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St. Lucy’s Feast was previously scheduled for August 27, followed by St. Anthony’s Feast on August 28 to 30.

The Feast of San Gennaro has also been canceled, with organizers telling North End Waterfront that “we realize that this just isn’t the right time,” and that they plan to come back in September 2021.

The Madonna Della Cava Feast, scheduled for August 7 to 9, was supposed to celebrate its centennial feast this year. It, too, will no longer take place.

“It is especially sad for us since this is the 100th anniversary of the feast, and we had big plans to mark this milestone,” Matthew Matarazzo, a member of the Society of the Madonna Della Cava, told Boston.com.


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