Manchester Italian Catholic Society
In 1888 a local priest, Father Tynan, realised the need for a society for the local Italian people. With the enthusiastic support of this now expanding community, The Manchester Italian Catholic Society was formed in 1888. It was a non-political organisation whose function was to look after the cultural needs of the colony’s families. It instigated Italian language classes, social events, trips out, and the most popular event of the calendar of Little Italy, the spectacular ‘Festa of the Madonna of Mount Carmel’.
The festa was later to become the ‘Festa of the Madonna of the Rosary’. Men of the community would carry the statue of the Blessed Virgin through the streets of the city. An important name in the early days of the procession was Father Pappalardo who worked on the organising committee and continued the good work started by Father Tynan. The procession would start from St.Vincent’s Convent, in St.Vincent’s Street (just off Redhill Street, New Islington). For many years the sisters helped the Italian community (the convent eventually closed in the sixties). As times moved on, the Italians also attached themselves to St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, and this is where the procession leads from today.
The first recorded committee of the Italian Catholic Society comes from 1910:
The Reverend Padre Pappalardo, C. Tiani, D. Antonelli, F.A. Nacci, D. Lorenzini, D. Pessagno, S. De Felice, G. Arcari, L. Granelli, A. Mazza, L. Di Rolla, C. Rosadi, C. Coniola.
The following presidents were also recorded. The first president to serve the association was Domenico Antonelli. Following presidents were: Marco Rea 1937-55, Alberto Tiani 1955-77, Giovanni Boggiano 1977-86, Gaetano Scappaticci (President of the amalgamation with the Mutual Aid Society).
In modern times the Manchester Italian Catholic Society wished to broaden its appeal to all denominations of Italians and so renamed to ‘The Manchester Italian Association’, or ‘MIA’. MIA today continues the good work started by Father Tynan 115 years ago.
Mutual Aid Society
Another society which greatly benefitted the community was the ‘Mutual Aid Society’. The Society was dedicated to Vittorio Emmanuel, King of Italy, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, its full title being ‘Italiana di Mutuo Soccorso Vittorio e Garibaldi’. Founded in 1902 its aims were to help those who fell on hard times; by paying collectively into a joint fund, subsidies could be awarded to people who were in poor health, and to families who suffered bereavment. This was a non-political and non-religious society. Sadly due to falling numbers in the 1980s, this society was merged with the Italian Catholic Society, later MIA.
The founder members of the old Italian Mutual Aid Society (‘Italiana di Mutuo Soccorso Vitorio e Garibaldi’) were: Antonio Valvona, Carmine Tiani, Giuseppe Valentini, Emilio Palazio, Dario Nardini, Angelo Rea, Sarafino de Felice, Prof. Colombo Toledano, Dr. Casartelli, Marco Sinacola, Simeone Robino, Luigi Granelli, Prof. Azeglio Valgimigli, Giovanni Alberti, Francesco Arcari, Cav. Tartaglione, Michael di Cocco, and Lorenzo de Felice.
Antonio Scappaticci was the first president of the renamed MIA until his sudden death in Italy. He was followed by Anthony Schiavo, who, along with his committee, gave the Association a new lease life. Today the Association’s good work continues under the guidance of our current president Lorraine Taurasi, and her dedicated committee.