August 20, 2022

The oldest continuously running Italian festival in Boston is the Fisherman's Feast, now in its 112th year, held every August in the North End neighborhood by the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca Society.  The tradition goes back to the 16th century in Sciacca, Sicily brought to Boston in 1910 based on the devotion of the fishermen to the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help). Organizers and most members are the descendants of the original Sicilian immigrants. Devotions, music and confetti are all part of the Sunday Procession at the Fisherman’s Feast, in honor of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca.

A special ceremony was held this year in celebration of the National Italian American Foundation (NAIF) that supports Italian-American culture and scholarship throughout the United States.

National Italian American Foundation (NAIF) Accepts Award with Boston Mayor Wu and Elected Officials

The first night of the Fisherman's Feast features a procession of the Madonna statue to Boston Harbor for the annual Blessing of the Waters at the site of the former Italian immigrant fishing fleet. This year, Boston's new Mayor Michelle Wu spoke at the waterfront event introducing  the newly sworn in Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox along with State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and City Councilor Gabriela "Gigi" Coletta. Fr. Michael Della Penna of St. Leonard Church performed the blessing as the crowd threw flowers into the harbor waters.

  • North End Marching Band, led by Romano “Mano” Schreiber (right)

  • Past society presidents bring out the Madonna statue

  • Cheering the opening of Fisherman's Feast with the emergence of the Madonna statue

  • Old school confetti falls from the rooftops

  • Carrying the Madonna statue

  • Carrying the Madonna statue through the feast

  • Ribbon devotions for the Madonna

  • Processing the statue of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca

  • Ralphie and Peter guide the procession

  • Boston Mayor Michelle Wu addresses the crowd at the 112th Fisherman's Feast

  • Boston Police Commissioner Michael Fox pins a donation at the Fisherman's Feast

  • Bringing the Madonna statue to Boston Harbor

  • Processing the statue of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca

  • Throwing the flowers in Boston Harbor at the Blessing of the Waters

On Sunday, society members hold the Grand Procession of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca statue through the streets of Boston’s North End. Member Pascal Gangi, a first generation Italian, brings a special Carnevale tradition from Sicily with creative and authentic moving floats, a treat for young and old.

  • Processing through the night

  • Youth Entertainment

  • The Madonna statue emerges

  • Carnival Floats and Parade at Fisherman's Feast

  • Carnival Floats and Parade at Fisherman's Feast

  • Carnival float in parade at Fisherman's Feast

  • Preparing the Madonna statue for the procession

  • Procession of the Madonna statue at the Fisherman's Feast

  • Confetti fun

  • Overloaded with confetti

  • Bringing the Madonna statue through North Square

  • Madonna statue procession on Hanover Street with Italy region sign

The Flight of the Angel is the grand finale of the Fisherman’s Feast. The 2022 Flying Angel was Gianna Puccio with Side Angels Jillian Fialkosky and April Palazzolo Cedano. After an 8-hour procession during the day, Fisherman’s Club members brought the Madonna statue home to North Street where two side angels on balconies recite an Italian devotion followed by the entrance of the flying angel from a third story window coming down from the sky to meet the Madonna Del Soccorso Di Sciacca. At the end, confetti rains on the scene in an astounding 'grand finale' street celebration.

Flight of the Angel

View more photos in the 112th Fisherman's Feast gallery.

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