By EmmaLee Italia | Correspondent
Italian food and Catholic traditions will meet Sept. 22 at Leonardo’s II in Lawrenceville, where Catholic radio apostolate Domestic Church Media will broadcast its TGI Friday LIVE show from 4 to 6 p.m.
Msgr. Sam A. Sirianni, pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, will be a special guest speaker during the broadcast. He will speak about Italian saints and their feasts, Italian festivals and food.
DCM co-founder and radio host Jim Manfredonia approached Leonardo’s II restaurateur Robert Pluta about combining an on-location radio broadcast and Italian cuisine to correspond with the feast of San Gennaro, celebrated mid-September in various Italian communities worldwide.
Guests who attend will enjoy 30 percent off their entire order during the broadcast, dining in a special reserved room with the radio hosts, Manfredonia and Gabriella Furmato, DCM parish liaison.
San Gennaro, or the Feast of St. Januarius, recognizes the Italian martyr and bishop of Benevento, Italy, whose relics are housed in the cathedral bearing his name in Naples. He is believed to have been martyred during the infamous persecution of Christians during the rule of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who retired in 305.
The saint’s feast day, Sept. 19, is celebrated every year in Naples by exposing the vials of the saint’s blood to the public, and liquefaction occurs among the prayers of the faithful. Locally accepted but not officially recognized by the Church, the miracle is believed to happen at least three times a year: the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, Sept. 19 and Dec. 16, the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano. The miracle is said to have occurred for more than 1,700 years.
In New York City’s Italian neighborhood of Little Italy, the San Gennaro Festival has taken place in September for more than 90 years, encompassing 10 days of celebration, food and processions on Mulberry Street. A similar festival takes place in the Italian neighborhood of the Bronx.
Reservations are recommended; to reserve a table, call (609) 396-4466. Leonardo’s II is located at 2021 Brunswick Avenue (Bus. Rt. 1).
To learn more about DCM and for a list of programming, visit DomesticChurchMedia.org.