Every year hundreds of people from all over Australia make a pilgrimage to the Newton church. They make this journey to join the locals as they celebrate the Festa Di Madonna Di Montevergine which occurs on the last Sunday of September.
Held on the last Sunday of September the procession starts from the Hectorville church and ends a few miles later at the St. Francis of Assisi Church at Newton. Some of the locals like to refer to Newton as the ‘Piccola Assisi.’ It’s quite amazing to watch as hundreds take place in it walking respectfully and chanting the rosary as they walk.
After the procession reaches the church at Newton a Mass is held in a large marquis, as the Church itself is no longer able to hold the large numbers. Mass is usually said by a visiting Italian priest and many of the guests include political dignitaries usually take part.
After mass the festivities begin which include eating, drinking catching up with old friends and listening to the entertainment. As far as entertainment goes there is always somebody new. Last year they had Antonio Villano who was booked as ‘Tenore Straordinario’, or extraordinary tenor, and from memory he really wowed the audience. As far as the food is concerned, the pasta is just like mamma makes and the pizza is divine. There is also a variety of other Italian continental delicacies including cakes.
Then for the grand finale, what else but a great show of fireworks!
For several years I have been asked to record a video of the event and I have posted a portion of it here for those of you who are interested.