The festival was held in honour of the patrons of Calabrese town Roccella Ionica, Maria SS. Of Graces and Saint Vittorio Martire.
It was the ideal place for the 58th edition of the event.
The crowd had indeed increased considerably since last year and the participants felt at home while assisting with the mass, taking part in the procession and enjoying the fantastic musical show.
The celebrations were opened by a solemn mass, which took place beneath the prepared marquee, led by Father Antonio Fregolent and Father Syrilus Madin and sung by the Our Lady of Mount Carmel chorus, conducted by Maria Tripodi.
During the sermon, Fr Antonio invited those present to renew their faith, just as the Sea Captain Onofrio Buscemi did many years ago, when he and his crew were struck by a downpour while at sea near Roccella, and he prayed to the Madonna and was saved.
Fr Antonio then reminded everyone that the devotion of the inhabitants of Roccella to Saint Vittorio goes back to ‘600, when citizens of Marseille sent to Roccella the arm of the saint who was martyred while under reign of emperor Massimiliano.
Saint Vittorio proved his faith with his martyrdom.
He is an example for all Christians called to live in faith through baptism.
The mass included a procession featuring statues of the two protectors of Roccella, accompanied by the band Giuseppe Verdi and preceded by numerous representatives of the Italian associations with their banners.
At the end of the procession the statues were placed in veneration of the faithful for the duration of the day.
The official section of the day was opened by the speech of president Silvio Marrapodi, who thanked the participants and in particular the guests of honour: Italian Senator Francesco Giacobbe, federal MP Chris Hayes, state Member for Liverpool Paul Lynch, state Member for Cabramatta Nick Lalich, state Member for Fairfield Guy Zangari, mayor of Fairfield Frank Carbone, president of Club Marconi Vince Foti, patron of Powerhouse Arts Centre Pino Sgambellone and representative of the mayor of Liverpool Charishma Kaliyandra.
A particular thanks went to Fr Antonio and his committee who oversaw the religious part of the festival.
Thanks also went to the chorus of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, to the representatives of the associations, to the police and to the secretary Tina Furfaro who coordinated the organisation of the event.
Vice-president Joe Bova thanked the collaborators and sponsors of the event.
Words of thankyou were also expressed by Giacobbe, Hayes, Lynch, Lalich and Carbone.
The musical spectacle, presented with great professionalism by Paolo Rajo, saw the participation of Angela Arduca, Tony Pantano and Joe Mammone from the Australian Dance & Drama Co. alongside a show by Fratelli del Sud.
A standing ovation went to Mark Vincent who concluded the show with great success.
The event continued with the extraction of the lottery, with number 1693 winning first prize, and second prize won by number 4974, third by 3708, fourth by 9258, fifth by 6931, sixth by 6437, seventh by 6081, eighth by 7177, ninth by 4982 and tenth by 5096.
Fireworks by Foti International concluded the event which worthily honoured the culture and traditions of Roccella Ionica.