Italian Festivals in Brantford
The Madonna della Libera and San Rocco Festivals honour the patron saints of Pratola Peligna and Pofi, respectively.
These celebrations were attended in great volume. They usually included High Mass, processions with the statues of the patron saints, picnics, music, dancing, soccer games, and usually ended with fireworks.
The first Madonna della Libera experience happened in May of 1958. The celebrations in Brantford were held during the same time as they took place in Pratola Peligna. The committee was led by Mario Lucente. The highlight of the Madonna della Libera celebration was the procession around Our Lady of the Assumption Church.
The San Rocco Festival has a slightly later date of inception. The people of Pofi had been venerating Saint Rocco for many centuries and had built a church in the saint’s honour in 1956. In Brantford, however, the celebrations did not begin until 1991 with the inception of a committee of Brantford’s Pofi immigrants to establish the celebrations in honour of the patron saint. The committee approached the pastor of St. Pius X Church and with his assistance, they initiated preparations for celebrations to take place in August of the following year.