Italian Feast of SS. Crocifisso returns to Des Plaines

Live music, Italian food and a traditional horse parade are among the highlights when the 22nd annual Italian Feast of SS. Crocifisso takes place this weekend on the grounds of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

Kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with Vespers at Marian Chapel, the event runs Saturday night and Sunday at 1150 N. River Road, Des Plaines.

The festival is hosted by Chicago-area residents whose families emigrated from Ciminna, a small town outside Palermo, Sicily, where it has been celebrated since 1651.

Sunday's events begin with an Italian Mass at 12:30 p.m. celebrated by the Revs. John Belmonte, John Smyth and Esquivel Sanchez. After Mass, the traditional procession of the cross takes place, accompanied by the Sicilian Band of Chicago, a horse parade, live music, entertainment and food. Fireworks will close out the festival.

The celebration was brought to the area by Philip Nigliaccio, who believes that he and his family were graced by God when on Dec. 23, 1995, they walked away from a terrible car accident without any injuries. He began the crusade to have a replica of the cross of SS. Crocifisso, associated with miracles in the Italian town, made and to have a procession here.

Fred Scimeca traveled to Sicily to make an exact reproduction of the image and the local celebration of the feast began. The cross is kept at the main altar of Marian Chapel on the grounds of Maryville.

For more information, visit or call (847) 577-8230.

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