Parish of Santa Maria Maggiore
(St. Mary Major)

via Dante 23/25 - 85010 Pignola (PZ)
Archdiocese of Potenza-Muro Lucano-Marsiconuovo

Presbitery members
Don Antonio Laurita - Parish Priest
Mons. Rocco Piro - Pastor emeritus
Don Antonio Meliante - Parish vicar
Don Giuseppe Calace - permanent deacon

Parish office - via Dante 23
open workdays 9 to 11 a.m.
phone:  0039 0971 430008

IBAN: IT 28 J 07601 04200 00013119854
Postal Current Account : 000013119854


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Presbitery members

Don Antonio LAURITA - 
(Parish Priest)

Mons. Rocco PIRO - (Pastor emeritus)
Don Antonio MELIANTE - (Parish Vicar)

Don Giuseppe CALACE - (Permanent Deacon)


We apologize in advance for the translation errors that you'll surely find in the texts: we do our best efforts, but maybe it's not enough !

Note: were needed, photos can be seen in the italian section

We want to add something more to what has been recently posted on Facebook by the Feast Committee 2022/2023:

The devotion to our Patroness has no limits!!!
In the last few days we’ve been contacted by don Eugene Carrella, priest in Brooklyn  having Pignolese origin, because his great-grandparent were  Albano, Nicoletti, Molinari e Laurenzano.
Hereafter you can see the statue present at the S. Rita church in Brooklyn: the big halo is missing and has different colors, otherwise it is very similar to our statue, having the same posture and the same stars on her mantle. Don Eugene told us that in the past the statue was in the church of Madonna di Loreto, and her feast was celebrated in May. Today that church is no more there, and that’s why the statue has been transferred in S. Rita.


​In addition to the above, we can confirm that the coloring of the statue in Brooklyn is exactly the one that the emigrants had in mind, as demonstrated by the banner we have in our Parish Office, made in America, whose photo we report hereafter, from where you can notice the same red of the dress and the blue of the mantle with stars.

The current goldening was done in ‘800, after the migrations

​The fact to have a little halo with only two little angels,  different from the one visible in the banner, should come from the fact that in the previous church the statue was hosted in a niche unable to contain the big halo, as our Parish Priest recalls from his visit in 1989; therefore, they should have substituted it with a smaller one.

November the 2nd – Commemoration of the Dead

​The Dead were already celebrated in the Middle Ages, in the Sunday two weeks before the Lent, that means between January and February. The current date comes from the decision of a Benedictine abbot, who rang the death bells after Vespers of Nov. the 1st, and the day after did the Eucharist “pro requie omnium defunctorum” (“for the rest of all dead”); and that date became the official one for the catholic church in the 14th century.

So, it’s a tradition of this day to take some flowers to the cemetery; well, this word comes from the Greek koimētḗrion, meaning “the site were to go to sleep” (for the believers, sure to wake up the day after, the day that will not have a sundown).​

It’s impossible to speak about this day not basing on faith: if we believe that after the death there is nothing, it’s useless to talk. Some people wrote jokes on that, like Roberto Gervaso: “If no one has ever come back from the afterlife, it means that it is a good site!”;  or Victor Hugo: “If there isn’t another world, God is not honest”; or Vladimir Nabokov: “Life is a big surprise. Why the death shouldn’t be a greater surprise?”

From the Church perspective, this day reminds the certainty of the resurrection in the Judgment Day.

​Each one of us obviously primarily remember his relatives, especially those who died recently; then friends or colleagues that shared with us part of our earthly life; but we should not forget the victims of the various ongoing wars, up to those persons that everybody forgot, so nobody prays for them.

To summarize, to pray for the dead is a sacred duty of a religious and universal solidarity.

Thus, we’re back to the faith: without it, the death is only something sad and painful, inside an inconsolable pain, while the faith tells us that the death is just an occurrence of our existence, being just the way to pass from the fictitious earthly house to the true one, the heavenly home, allowing to go from the dimension of a pilgrimage between the uncertainties of earth life to an eternal existence.

It is important to remind that whatever we do here has consequences in the “other” life: with the death, careers, titles, success will disappear in a moment.  As Pope Francis said : “the only merit will be the mercy to the poor and rejected people”.

A little final consideration: it’s not useful to remember our dear departed only on this day, because to forget them on the other 364 days would be to make them die a second time.


Saint Michael the Archangel in Pignola: the charm of an ancient devotion


The popular devotion to the Saint is manifested by two annual pilgrimages to His little church, on May 8 and Sept. 29. This church is in the countryside around the village, named Sant’Angelo, at about 4 kilometres, surrounded by woods.

The church was part of an ancient convent of the Capucins, whose ruins are still visible; there is a copy of St Michael statue, because the original one (dated back to the year one thousand) was stolen.

Under the church there is a natural cave, whose cult is similar to many of them; the biggest in Italy is on Mount Gargano, in Puglia. All of them are always in the western slope of a mountain, near a spring.

There are several legends about the convent and the cave below; the most popular says that on 1574 the friars of the convent were absolutely unable to reach the village because of the tremendous amount of snow, and therefore they had nothing to eat. Thus, they began to pray and after a while they heard the doorbell: there was a mare laden with food and nobody else, not even footprints in the snow. When they finished unloading the animal, it disappeared.

This year, in addition to the traditional procession, there has been a 3 days initiative by the Patron feast Committee, including religious ceremonies, gastronomy events and musical concerts. Let’s thank them, because they understood that traditions contribute to the community growth. 


 Angela Guma

June 25 - Confirmation

This evening at the Main Church the Sacrament of Confirmation has been administered.

To say that with Confirmation the knowledge of Jesus is complete, is wrong, because it just  represents the beginning of the true life in the  faith.  You become apostles, ready to announce the Gospel with your own life.

Every year in such a day you can breathe a big emotion in the air; and boys and girls, although not always attentive during the year, give their best, being capable to capture the importance of the moment.
Our hope for them is to live and to witness to Jesus with their whole being.
We pray for these seeds to grow, becoming strong trees producing numerous fruits.

the catechists

                                                          June the 5th - First Communion

Finally we reached the First Communion day. It has been a hard yard, and we did any possible effort to have children prepared and serene for this day.
Here they are, ready to receive Jesus for their first time: the emotion in their eyes rewards us of all difficulties we faced ! They're becoming apostles,ready to announce how Jesus, son of God, sacrificed Himself for us.  Our wish is that they will never forget the sensations experienced today, continuing in their road to become real Apostles of Christ.
the catechists

May the 7th - First Confession

So, also this catechetical year ended. After a three years flow, children are going to receive for the firs time the sacrament of Confession. In these three years we tried to make the children aware of the presence of their friend Jesus and the Father who knows and loves all of them.
We had to stop the weekly meetings because of the pandemic, but we've continued using WhatsApp, thanks to the families' cooperation, up to the moment we finally restarted to meet.

The ceremony begins when children access the Church, with the emotioned parents awaiting.
The priest welcomes them, and they give him the white dresses they were wearing the day of their batpism, renewing the promises of that day. Once more, the parable of the prodiga son is read, and during the homily the children asnwer the questions coming from the priest; at the end, the priest gives them the white robe.

Let's say that we, as catechists, have experienced a new venture that helped us to rediscover the interior beauty of children, and gave us the hope they will continue in the willingness to know and love Jesus.

                                                                                                                                        Annamaria, Anna

Our Patron feast  2022

The historical-religious identity of Pignola is strictly linked to its patron Mary Most Holy of Angels, the most important event of the year.

The origin is very old: the first mention is found in 1521, at the time the chapel in Pantano was built. In a manuscript by the chapel responsible the feast is mentioned as being organized by the Confraternity of Our Lady under the strict control of two prelates from Pignola; there were musicians, fireworks and a lot of hawkers. After a while, the organization passed to groups of faithful, and this is true also today.

The feast starts on the 2nd Friday of May: in the morning you can hear some firecrackers announcing the beginning of the Novena; and a lot of people goes to the Sanctuary of Pantano (about 5 kilometers from Pignola) to participate in the morning Mass.

But the culmination of the celebration is the solemn procession where the Madonna’s statue is carried on the shoulders from the Sanctuary to the Mother Church, accompanied by Her knights, the parish priest, the band and a crowd of faithful.

During the feast there have been also recreational events: music by “The Kolors”, Mirko Gitone  and the “Musicamanovella”, with thousands of spectators very happy to return to an almost “normal” life after the restriction due to the pandemic, and also cultural like the painting exhibitions of Francesca Conte and Sara Di Iorio. Thus, we have to thank the Organizing Committee : a tight-knit team driven by Mimmo Pirulli.

As well, many people were attending the traditional appointment of the “Uglia”, with the carriers

dancing and jumping through the broom bonfires, prepared by some families that cure this aspect since many years.

A good signal for the future has been given by a group of young people that set up the committee for next year. This is also a signal of hope: soling well, the harvest is good !

                                                                                                                                                                 Angela Guma





As always, Pignola reveals its essence in times of difficulty: generous, selfless, sensitive. I’m happy to tell you  that I just gave 825 €, coming from your donations, to Italian Caritas that will use them to help Ukrainian people. I was sure I could count on you, and I’ll continue to do it; I bless you warmly

                                                                                                                                                                           don Antonio Laurita


The Carnival in Pignola and its masks


The Catholic Action wants to give a contribution to the debate on the Pignola’s Carnival and its traditional masks.

Everybody knows that the carnival represents a moment of aggregation and is also time for carefree madness, joy and transgression. It’s an unique event full of irony and satire, in which all participate: men, women, children, old people.

The community of Pignola, digging into his past, has brought to the light some peculiar aspects; but we have still to continue working on this aspect.

So, first of all let’s say that in Pignola the carnival does not begin on January the 17th (S. Anthony Abbot’s feast) but the day before, when they light a bonfire,  called “fanoja”, sometime higher than four meters.

It could come from a legend telling how S. Anthony went back from hell carrying his stick burning, to give the fire to men; or it may be just a way to represent, with sparks and flames, the incoming time of fun.

While the bonfire burns, you can hear music from accordion and drums, and see people eating homemade pasta and pork. The situation is monitored by the “mantellari”, masks wearing big hats and old capes, that should avoid somebody steals the fire and are also announcing that “U re” (the carnival’s king) is coming with his court. 

A “mantellaro”  is a mysterious and solitary character. Maybe a disillusioned by life, or shy, or a lover; as well, could be young or old, man or woman: nobody knows. They just represent the defender of traditions.

After the traditional race of mules, horses and donkeys we have the “zite”, a ramshackle married couple on their buggy. 

But what is quite unique is the tradition of the “parate”. The characters are a husband and wife, godfather and godmother (better: accomplice and gossip) and a doctor. They, inspired by real and recent events, improvise funny comedy acts at somebody’s house;  in any case, at the end the wife faints and the doctor states she can be saved only with a good portion of local salami. So, the family hosting the “actors” will offer salami and wine to all.

Another traditional, very old mask is “U Peligne” (the hairy); on it, there are very few information.  Somebody says he is a person dressed in longhaired animal skins, with a stick and having a billy goat on a lead; someone else states he is a disheveled dancer with reversed clothing, able to play and dance at the same time with a big, life-sized doll.

Last, let’s spend a few word on the “official” carnival mask of Pignola: “Ze Gerarde Fotte” (uncle Jerry).

He loves good wine and food, funny jokes (sometimes dirty); ready to quarrel, he has a red plaid shirt, black waistcoat, brown corduroy trousers, black hat, white wool socks, mountain boots in bad conditions, and round thick glasses.

He has always with him a chamber pot: when hungry, he uses it as a dish to eat spaghetti or pork chop.


We could say he represents the rural humility and also the tenacity of our people, ready to react to any offense addressed to him or to people being hosted here, where each guest is sacred.                                         

                                                                                                                                              The A.C. president

                                                                                                                                         Fiorentino Trapanese

Dear brothers and sisters,

I'm here to remind your responsibility and involvement in the spiritual care of your children.

As in the past, we'll begin this new Pastoral Year having some meetings with all parents.

These meetings represent an opportunity to become more conscios to be "a people on its journey" that cannot ever state to have reached the final destination.

Thus, in educating our children in the faith we must be all involved and mainly agree

with the educational proposal that has the sacraments as milestones.

That's why we'll meet on January the 9th at 4:30 p.m. in our Main Church.

Sure of your comprehension and cooperation for the well-being of your children,

kind regards

                                                                                       The parish priest and the catechists

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