MILWAUKEE — Festa Italiana will celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life during its 38th annual Mass at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 19, in the Marcus Amphitheater, 200 N. Harbor Drive.Fr. Timothy Kitzke, co-pastor of Three Holy Women Parish, Milwaukee, leads Benediction following last year’s Festa Italiana Mass and procession Sunday, July 20. (Submitted photo courtesy Rory Gillespie)

Pope Francis declared 2015 as the Year of Consecrated Life, to be celebrated Nov. 30, 2014, through Feb. 2, 2016, and to honor the lives of men and women religious and call them to “Wake Up the World.” 

Sr. Marie Louise Balistrieri, a Sister of Charity of St. Joan Antida and co-chair of the Festa Mass and Procession committee, told the Catholic Herald that she hopes the Mass dedication and celebration of Consecrated Life at Festa Italiana, held July 17-19, will offer participants a deeper understanding and respect for religious and religious vocations.

Fr. Domenic Roscioli of Kenosha, a retired Milwaukee Archdiocesan priest who travels the country giving parish missions and sharing children’s stories, will celebrate Mass, which will be followed by a procession of saints through the Summerfest grounds and Benediction. 

Sr. Marie Louise said that Fr. Roscioli was chosen as the main celebrant because he has assisted many individuals, including Italians in Kenosha County, in countless ways, and because of his involvement in various charities, including one supporting children with cancer. 

Fr. Roscioli, a cancer survivor himself, has volunteered for more than 25 years at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a camp for children ages 7 through 15 with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Members, residents and coworkers of the Order of St. Camillus will lead the procession with a float and statue of its founder, St. Camillus de Lellis, the patron saint of the sick, hospitals and health care workers, who has a strong connection to the Italian and Catholic tradition.

Rory Gillespie, director of communications for the Order of St. Camillus, said religious will also share stories of “first hearing and then following the voice of God, and doing Christ’s work in this world.” 

Gillespie believes it’s essential to “take that extra minute for them to share their (religious life) story with you,” vital to “pass that story of Consecrated Life to all you know,” and ideal to “thank those in Consecrated Life for their dedication to God and to us.”

Men and women religious interested in participating in the Mass or procession should contact Therese Ciofani at (414) 303-9772; religious will receive free parking all day near the amphitheater, pre-Mass refreshments, a lunch ticket and can enjoy the rest of the day at Festa free of charge.

Purchase tickets to Festa Italiana in advance for $10 online at or at the Italian Community Center, Milwaukee, through July 16; or at the gate for $13.