marzo / March 2022
St. Leo's Feast of St. Anthony Italian Festival
resumes after two-year hiatus
Dozens of VOLUNTEERS are needed to work the St. Leo's food stands. PLEASE volunteer today! Ask your high school students and friends to help - such an easy and fun way to earn service hours. VENDORS needed, too! Email Sue Corasaniti.
Centreville sculptor sees artistic value in controversial Columbus statue
A Centreville, Maryland sculptor has recreated the controversial Christopher Columbus statue that once sat in Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood, restoring what he sees as an artistic accomplishment and a cornerstone of local Italian American pride.

Acknowledging his bias as an artist, sculptor Will Hemsley said, “I view things aesthetically [and] as a result, I measure things through their artistic integrity. That’s where my sympathies lie.” [read full story in The Democrat Star]

Editor's note: As of the publication of this issue of Neighborhood News, the Columbus statue was scheduled to be returned to Baltimore and a decision made by the Italian Heritage Festival Committee as to where to place it on private property. It will not be returned to Columbus Piazza.
"We may not always like it, but history can’t be changed just by knocking down a statue.” ~ Bill Martin
(member of Italian Heritage Festival committee. Photos courtesy Luke Parker.)
Little Italy Foundation offers $33,000 in
scholarship money, accepts applications

The Little Italy Lodge Foundation Board of Directors has approved the offering of six scholarships totaling $33,000: three for $6,000 each and three for $5,000 each. The 2022 scholarship application is available on and hard copies are placed at the Little Italy Lodge entrance. Deadline for students to submit is May 1, 2022.
MISSION: To award educational scholarships to eligible Lodge members and their descendants.

It takes a village ... of volunteers
A customer at St. Leo's March 6th Carryout Ravioli Dinner asked if she could work the next dinner. "It looks like you are having so much fun," she said. "Every time I come in to buy dinner, the volunteers seem so happy."

Parish events definitely take a village ... of happy volunteers. The March dinner raised approximately $4,000 for the Little Italy church. These dinners are not possible without a team, says Sue Corasaniti, who feels "so proud to be part of this one." Corasaniti is a volunteer herself as co-coordinator of the carryout dinners.

It is uncertain as to when the parish's two regular annual sit-down dinners will resume; for now, the carryout dinners work extremely well and are actually less work to plan and implement.

Below left photo: Tina Cricchio DeFranco (grey sweater), Saint Leo's Administrative Assistant and longtime parishioner, welcomes Austin & Valerie Sanchez, new parishioners, and owners of Kilwins Chocolates in Fells Point. The Sanchezes handed out complimentary samples of their homemade fudge, caramel corn, and other confections during the March dinner.
Middle photo: Marcus Snyder, Theresa Donnelly, Sharon Tamassia, Fran Blattermann
Right top photo: John Kidwell, Salliann Alborn, Rob Daniels
Right bottom photo: Sue Corasaniti, Jen Daniels.
Photos courtesy Cathy Scaffidi Costa

St. Leo's youth learn and cook
during Feasts of Saints
Father Bernie Carman (seated right) and a group of St. Leo's youth pose during another Feast of Saints for Kids held March 15 in the Church Hall. Father led a discussion about Saint Katharine Drexel and was celebrated for his March 16th birthday. The kids made meatloaf & mashed potato "cupcakes" and decorated cake pops. Maria Benassai played a wonderful rendition of 'Happy Birthday' on her ukelele as the kids sang along. The chef for the evening guiding the kids in cooking was Margo Benassai.

Traditional Saint Joseph Table displayed
in St. Leo's Church
Again this year, St. Leo's St. Joseph Table was displayed in the church during the weekend of March 19-20, created by Tina Cricchio DeFranco, Administrative Assistant at the parish office. She included a basket of goody bags for visitors to take, containing homemade cookies, confetti, a fava bean (for good luck) and a St. Joseph prayer card.

This tradition originated in Sicily, Italy in the Middle Ages. Legend has it that during a severe drought, the Sicilians prayed for relief to Saint Joseph, their patron saint. When the rains came, the people rejoiced, and in gratitude, prepared a special table (or "altar") with an assortment of food from their harvest. They offered traditional cookies and cakes, bread baked in symbolic Christian symbols, assorted confections, fruit, wine, fava beans, and beautiful decorations of candles, figurines and flowers. After paying homage to Saint Joseph, the food was distributed to people less fortunate; thus Saint Joseph's Day was established, celebrated annually in March.

Monetary donations were collected near the display to be
donated to the effort to help people in Ukraine.

Spring classes offered
at Pandola Learning Center in Little Italy
Here is only a highlight of some of Pandola Learning Center's cultural & cooking classes ... in addition to its various levels of Italian language classes. Many other classes offered! 
Saturday, April 2
11am-1pm, $10
Learn from a Maryland beekeeper the fascinating world of a honeybee colony, collecting the honey, and using it to make great-tasting Italian food, taught by Tim Elliott.

(Pane di Pasqua)
Saturday, April 9
11am-1pm, $15 plus supplies
Remember the delicious Easter Breads handmade by your nonna, mamma, or zia? Continue this family tradition with instructor Nancy Barbieri Wolfe.

April 23 and May 7
(2 Saturdays - must commit to both sessions)
12:30-1:30pm, $25 plus supplies
Learn to make this scrumptious liqueur taught by Little Italy native and resident, Arthur Gentile.

Saturday, May 7
11am-noon, $25
Joe Gardella, chef and proprietor of Joe Benny’s Focacceria in Little Italy, will demonstrate how to make scrumptious rice balls filled with cheese and meat.

events ... events ... events
  • Photo booth!
  • Caricatures!
  • Magician!
  • Card Reader!
  • Raffles!

$300 pp - Galileo seating
$350 pp - Michelangelo seating
$400 pp - DaVinci seating

Black tie optional. Sponsorships available. For tickets, contact Alex Tarasco, 443.865.0970 or Mike Gallerizzo, 410.385.5046
  • Cocktail hour with Italian food stations
  • Fabulous dinner and Italian desserts
  • Deluxe open bar and Martini Bar
  • Wine & Bourbon tastings
  • Cigar tent with food, open bar, live auction, and music by Mike Miano
  • Incredible silent auction!
  • Dancing to the sounds of Klassix

Honor your famiglia or publish a business message
in this commemorative booklet
booklet cover
Host a Family
Remembrance page!
This commemorative booklet will be created for the September 18th Little Italy Celebration. (You do NOT need to attend the event to host a page.) A portion of booklet revenue will be donated to Saint Leo's Church.

Ideas to include on
your family page:
  • Tell your family's story related to Little Italy.
  • Recall your memories of Little Italy.
  • Write a message from your family.
  • Memorialize deceased family members.
  • Include photographs and/or vintage documents, such as ship ticket, passports, marriage certificate, etc.

Full page = $65
(up to 3 photos, 175 words)

Half page = $35
(1 photo, 80 words)
Blast from the past
Angela Culotta
First Holy Communion, 1926
~ submitted by Susan Culotta
 Include caption, people ID, location, approximate year, and your name.
Photos must be Little Italy or Italian immigrant-related.
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Promotion Center for
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