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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
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


11:00   CHIESA MADRE         
                      S.ROCCO  18:30
11:30       PANTANO       18:30

             Working days
S.ROCCO     18:30

PANTANO   19:15


To have a look at some images of the 21st procession, click the icon:

Cieli blu

Visit to Santa Chiara - 14/05/2023

Boys and girls that are going to receive the Confirmation,

accompanied by their catechists went to visit the convent of Poor Clares that is located in Potenza.

They knew a really different way of living, and received the testimonies of these women, who decided to follow the road traced by Santa Chiara from Assisi


They also enthusiastically participated to Vespers, singing praises to Lord with the nuns.

As Saint Augustine said “singing is praying twice”


The catechists

Dear brothers and sisters,

we all are aware that our earthly life had a beginning and will surely have an end; but it is not so easy to accept it when it involves our mother, even for a priest; that’s why it becomes proof of our love for God.

God has not forbidden us to mourn the death of our loved ones: He himself cried over the death of Lazarus, although knowing He was going to resurrect him; so, we can do the same for our deaths, that we believe are going to resurrect to a new life.

Like everybody, my mom had to struggle; but she knew that her life was full of consolations: a faithful husband, lot of friends, and happy children. The evangelist John states that to generate a new life is painful, but once the children is born, the mother forgets the pain; and her most intense joy is to see her children becoming adult, although for the mothers we are never enough adult.

Losing the mother we lose our reliable reference; with our mother we never need to pretend, because in the woman that gives the life there are only simplicity and peace.

Why in the fear everybody  calls the mom? Because the love of our mother is the strongest, purest, most faithful love that can exist.

I owe a lot of what I am to my mother: sure, also the Church gave me a lot, but the essence has been transmitted to me by mom when I was a boy.

And she did it simply “caring of her family”.

She was near to my father up to his death, cooperating with him to educate the children; she taught us to love God and our neighbor; and has been always near me during so many years of priesthood, sharing all my problems.

I must thank God for having enjoyed her presence till today, and also for having the grace to raise every day the cup of salvation, source of suffrage for the deceased.

Let us ask our patron Mary Most Holy of Angels to strengthen our faith and sustain our prayers of suffrage for my mother and all our dear dead.




Pignola, 16 May 2023


Dear  Antonietta,

also you ended your earthly parable, returning to the Father’s house and leaving a sad regret in all of us.

There are many memories linked to you, to your sunny and cheerful temperament, always available to listen and give useful suggestions.

St. Roch’s Church was a second home for you; you took care of it: everything had to be in its place, everything had to be perfect. But I remember mainly your devotion while reciting the Holy Rosary, where you used special invocations that I learned and use still today.

And I’ll continue to do this in your sweet memory.

Your soul is now with God, who raised you in his Glory because of your faith and trust in Him. ​

My deepest condolences to your relatives

with love,  Ninetta Perone


Marriage preparation course​


Family love according to Saint Paul : 

Love is always patient; love is always kind; love is never envious or arrogant with pride.

Nor is she conceited, and she is never rude; she never thinks just of herself or ever get annoyed.

She never is resentful; is never glad with sin, but always glad to side with truth, whenever the truth should win. She bears up under everything, believes the best in all, there is no limit to her hope, and she will never fall.


The hymn to charity from the letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, known also as Hymn to love, has been the main guideline of the marriage preparation course, being one of the most fascinating texts present in the Holy Scripture.

The course was attended by seven engaged couples that are going to get married this year, and it was divided in seven meetings; the first two were focused on the “patient and kind love”, the remaining on negative aspects, wrath and resentment.

In this path we based on experiential catechesis, thus facing questions about life, with related reflection and confrontation on the sacrament and the meaning of the Christian family.

At the end, we spoke about the formal promise of marriage and  its legal and religious issues.

At each meeting was also present our parish priest, don Antonio, who anyway stated the course had to be leaded by a couple having a twenty-year marital experience; and we must say that it has been a moment of strong sharing and mutual growth.

So, let’s wish these young couples that their love will be a small spark of the immense love of our Father.

Angela Guma


In the 2022 edition of this site there was an article related to the presence of a statue of our Patron at the Santa Rita church in Brooklyn, New York.

Thanks to the relationships between our Parish Priest and the Feast Committee in Pignola and Father Eugene Carella in New York we have a video about the mass of May 7.


Pignola, 30 April 2023

Scarred by suffering, dear Vincenzo, you flew to heaven increasing the number of stars.

But we miss your presence, your daily life, your dedication. It’s not possible to forget your good person, well known by everybody because of your industriousness, creativity, commitment to your job. You had many plans for the future, full of the love for the family, for your daughters that will miss forever the tender and caring affection of their father. 

 We are a bit surprised, knowing you’ve fought hard against that terrible illness that had exhausted your body but not your spirit, nor your desire to live. Unfortunately the harbinger of death came to accompany you to his big castle, and such event is always finding us unprepared; so, our community is losing another young son.

 I deeply share the despair of your parents and those who hoped a different future for you: dawns and sunsets will no more have the same beauty as before. .

The only solace could be to think that you’ve been raised to the Glory of God.

Good journey, dear Vincenzo

Ninetta Perone





Dear Caterina,

the cruel death has torn you from the love of your ones.

I did not know you very deeply, because we rarely meet; but when this happened I greatly  appreciated your restraint and distance from frivolities

Yes, because you were a woman calm, very hardworking, devoted to your family and home.

I was appreciating also your perseverance in faith, resulting in a serene  trust in the Lord.

You loved unconditionally your children, giving them always thoughtful attention. 

We were linked by the deep friendship between your Tommaso and my Bruno. Now life will be very difficult for him, but I’m sure he will receive your help from heaven and the attention from children.  The suffering endured while you’ve been in the hospital in this last period has surely  

thrown open the gates of heaven now that your life’s parable here has ended.

From there, pray for your children who have loving nursed you, relieving at least partially your suffering.

I will always remember you in my prayers.

With love, Ninetta Perone

EASTER 2023 - Images
clic here >

( to make the website more streamlined, images are in the Italian section )

The Parish library

Over the years, in our Parish locations many books and publications accumulated; but because of the re-buildings after various natural disasters, nobody knew what was available and where it was.

Finally, when the canonical house has been completed, it was decided to put there the parish library and make it usable.

To do that, we had to follow a long identification, organization and cataloguing activity, because there were about 8500 components.

The information (title, author, date) are now contained in an excel file: typing a search word in a cell, you’ll see on the screen all titles containing that word (or that author) and their location.

Obviously half of the content is related to religious items; but the other half is really heterogeneous: atlases, dictionaries and encyclopedias, ancient and modern literature, laws and codes, history, sociology, and many other subjects.

About the dating, it goes from today back to 1700; at least one is dated 1606. We say “at least” because some very ancient books do not show the date.

​Let’s finish stating that publications less than a hundred years old are still in good condition, while unfortunately the older ones have suffered the deterioration caused by time, wars, earthquakes; but all in all it’s enough that they are here!

Sfondo bianco

Don Rocco Piro:  soul to God, heart to Church, body to Pignola

The community of Pignola is united in the pain because of the don Rocco’s departure, and thanks God for the great gift  of such a spiritual shepherd.   

He represented an essential guide for everybody because of his deep faith, nourished by prayer and fostered by an outstanding effort, resulting in a Priestly service aimed to charitable reception. 

Everybody knows we lost a father who dedicated the life to his community, always respecting each single person and the town identity, hardly working to preserve its traditions; and we will remember forever his smile, a sign of his cordiality.

During the liturgy he was showing commendable care and passion: never a word spoken out of turn, never a wrong move.

As well, his qualities were manifest while he was acting as teacher of religion, or as responsible for the diocesan catechetical office, or operating in the Catholic Action and parish Caritas, not to mention his activities in social and cultural initiatives.

Don Rocco, thanks for your teachings; you told us many times that “God cannot be discussed, you must just love Him”

That’s why we join in prayer before our patron Maria Santissima degli Angeli, mother of your vocation; we’re sure you’ll be part of Her angelic crown, continuing to give us guidance from Heaven.

Angela Guma




Dearest Don Rocco,

retracing the past, I remember the celebration for the fiftieth anniversary of your priestly ordination. In the day of your death, I like to report that write, because we think to you as still alive among us.


Fifty years of priesthood


I’m very honored  this evening to give witness to don Rocco,  Parish priest in Pignola for over 50 years; and it’s  at the same time easy and difficult to speak about his long itinerary. It’s a journey of faith leading me to a distant past, when I was a young girl attending the ceremony of your priestly ordination. I remember just a few things, but very clearly: the church full of people, you laying on the floor consecrating to God, while the parish choir sang “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum”.


At that time I was already frequenting the Catholic Action, and when don Rocco organized a summer colony for about 100 children I was there as childcare assistant, 9 hours a day, together with Leonilde Pinotti, Maria Fusco and some others.

We were involving children in walks and games, but mainly in lessons of catechism, etiquette, morality; and you, don Rocco, were the supervisor and also the source of our educational training.  

I remember that weekly we were walking all together, as scouts, with lunch bags to Rifreddo, Sellata, Arioso, where we stay all the day. At a certain time you came, initially riding an horse and later on a scooter, to read a Gospel passage or a Saint Paul’s letter.

We were also preparing, with the help of Sisters, theatre performances run under your direction, to be later done in the local movie theatre in Mazzini street.

As well, don Rocco built a new chorus (I remember Tanina Palermo, my sister Angela, Liliana Stigliani, Maria Miglionico, Anna Paciello, Peppina Vista, Rosetta Olita) and we learnt to sing the Angel’s mass and later the one by Lorenzo Perosi. Everything seemed difficult, but thanks to don Rocco we succeeded.

I can say, without any fear of being contradicted, that our being Christians comes entirely from the teachings received by don Rocco, who put at the heart of his existence the divine dimension; and when sometime he was reproaching us, he did it  just to reawaken our conscience. 

Thus, let me express a heartfelt thanks on behalf of my generation: thanks for the spiritual good you gave, for your pastoral commitment and for your great generosity to meet both material and spiritual needs of our community.


We thank the Lord for this great gift: yes, dear don Rocco, you’ve been such a gift from the Lord who surely is welcoming you into His arms.


                                                                                  Ninetta Perone and the entire community


in memoriam

There was really a lot of snow that morning of February, four years ago; and the climb that leads from my house to the alley where is the entrance to the sacristy of St. Antony’s church was full of it. There was no trace of cars, much less of people.  

I told my wife “Today we  won’t go out: we’ll stay holed up at home, reading a book in front of the fireplace”  so I went to search one. Suddenly she called me: “Erberto, come here and see!”

I went back immediately into the living room, asking myself what was going on. My wife was mesmerized, looking through the window, so I moved closer to have a look. A man wearing a black coat, with a beret on the white head, was trudging along in the snow, leaning on his umbrella and stopping now and then for breath.

He was don Rocco, going to celebrate the mass at the church of St Antony.

“But … how old is he?” asked me Katia. I did a quick calculation, ad said “95”

So, I put on a pair of boots and a coat, and left home telling my wife “I’m going to Mass and to keep him company”

In the church there was nobody at all; don Rocco celebrated the Mass normally, without any hurry.

At the end, in the sacristy I reproached him: “But don Rocco, at your age, with such a bad weather, this is really an imprudence: you well know that no one would come to mass!”

“You see” he answered “I wanted to become a priest to celebrate the Eucharist for my followers, regardless if many, a few, or nobody” 

When I was back in Rome (at that time I was going there quite every week) I told this nice story to a priest friend. His comment was “What to say? Ask that saintly priest to put also myself and our dreams in the paten, because I’m sure God will be pleased and will help us”

Well, that’s what don Rocco is: a priest according to God’s heart. And to me, that’s enough.


Then, as everybody here, I could tell lots of ​things about his closeness and comfort in moments of pain; and doing that, he was never common and predictable but sincerely affectionate.

Don Rocco loved and served the Church in obedience; although he was a priest since many years, he accepted the changes which have occurred in the Church, at the same time suffering because of the crisis of faith in our Country and the whole Europe. But he was anyway cultivating the Christian Hope and Love, sure that they at the end will surely win.

Dear Monsignor, you did not live in vain: you left a deep mark in your people. You’ve been here strong as an oak, living shelter to many, also to those who wanted just to rest for a moment in the shade of your branches.


I don’t know why, but thinking to you some lines by Edgar Lee Masters came in my mind:

YOU are over there, Father Malloy,

Where holy ground is, and the cross marks every grave,

Not here with us on the hill—

Us of wavering faith, and clouded vision

And drifting hope, and unforgiven sins.

You were so human, Father Malloy,

Taking a friendly glass sometimes with us,

Siding with us who would rescue Spoon River

From the coldness and the dreariness of village morality.

You were like a traveler who brings a little box of sand

From the wastes about the pyramids

And makes them real and Egypt real.

You were a part of and related to a great past,

And yet you were so close to many of us.

You believed in the joy of life.

You did not seem to be ashamed of the flesh.

You faced life as it is,

And as it changes.

Some of us almost came to you, Father Malloy,

Seeing how your church had divined the heart,

And provided for it,

Through Peter the Flame,

Peter the Rock.


Yes,don Rocco, I wonder why  …

Erberto Stolfi


Father of a community

From the blacksmith workshop to the Latin textbooks

to a limitless love for a great mission

Children clinging to his cassock

Young people educated to be someone

and to paint the world with confidence

A teaching for all

who loves never makes mistakes

An altar on earth for the questions of each

A joyful smile untouched by the years

Moments of grace

Smell of always

Father of us all

Now a surreal silence is screeching

sadness fills our hearts

Between weighted eyelashes a veil of nostalgia

hardly wipes away our tears

Only memories resound

and are echoed by our prayers

Thank you Don Rocco

Simply thank you


                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Tina Garreffi


In memory of Don Rocco Piro - 7/3/2023


Most reverend Monsignor Piro, dear don Rocco, in this painful day as the President of the Catholic Action in Pignola I want to tell you that  the entire community of Pignola kneels down to commemorate your death.

Since 1950 and for over 70 years you’ve taught us to live as a Christian; and I remember you at the beginning going around with a little old scooter to bring sacraments, help, solace to the inhabitants of our territory.

You’ve also led many young people that today are established professionals; as well,  you’ve actively contributed to every aspect of the social life of our community.

Let me imagine that your very deep devotion to our patron Mary Most Holy of Angels has distracted your attention to other motivations: I’m sure you had the skills and competencies to reach high levels in the ecclesiastic career.  

​To Her we turn our prayer, sure of the sublime embrace She reserved for you.

                                                                The Pignola Catholic Action President

                                                                               Fiorentino  Trapanese


Pignola - March 8,  2023


“The original and amazing beauty of Pignola comes from the nature surrounding it and the progressive composition of the village in the centuries”

These words were used by Don Rocco to define Pignola, were he was born.

He was often recalling that he was the son of a blacksmith, who forged both the iron and the character of his children.

He knew that consciences of individuals need a lot of patience but a firm hand too.

He taught many young people to love their neighbor, telling them “when you love, you’ll never make a mistake”

Gently, never overcoming, he transmitted us the love for our Patron; and was full of joy recalling the June 27, 1965, when Her image was solemnly crowned. 

To preserve our traditions he set up the “Equestrian Order of Knights Queen of Angels”; the school where he was teaching for many years put the flag at half-mast, and there has been an unceasing flow of people to the Main Church to pay homage to his coffin.

​When a new mayor was appointed, he received his welcome; and his advices were always appreciated.

The new mayor that will be appointed in the next months will not receive his wishes; but I’m sure that from above in heaven “he will not miss the father’s smile”​

                                                                                                                   Gerardo Ferretti




For those few people who did not have the fortune to know him, and the day of his funeral were asking themselves who could be that person to collect so many people at the church, let’s give some biographical notes.

Rocco Saverio Vincenzo Piro was born in Pignola on 30 January 1924; achieved the high school in 1943 (liceum Orazio Flacco in Potenza). 

During the bombing after September 8, 1943, together with other peers he gave assistance to the displaced that had taken shelter in the railway tunnels. On Sept. 25 he went to Rifreddo to tell the Canadian Command to stop the bombing, because there were no more German troops.

On 1 October 1945 he begins the theological flow at the seminary of Salerno, and his first solemn Mass happens on June 1949 in Pignola. He was also religion teacher in a public school in Potenza for nine years, and received the canonical possession of our Parish in 1961.

On June 19, 1999 he celebrated the Mass for the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

We could stop here, because in practice everybody here knew him very well and what he did.

Can you imagine how nice should be for a parish priest to baptize a child, follow him in the catechism, give the First Communion, then the Confirmation, and later to celebrate the wedding ? And sometime also the joy to have someone following his footsteps becaming a priest !

At the first mass of a new priest from Pignola he said: “A priest life is something really wonderful: it’s a so high ideal that cannot be compared to any other choice of freedom. When God calls, He breaks every door, bursts into the life of the chosen like a storm, and you can just say here I am”.

We cannot also forget to mention his extreme devotion to Our Lady of Angels; it's not easy to describe it, so it’s better to use the words don Rocco said at the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination:

“My praise and my thanks to the sweet Mother of my vocation: She led me by the hand, giving confidence and courage. To her I entrusted my ministry and the whole community of Pignola”

When reaching a certain age, people are retiring, but don Rocco never felt as a pensioner: until recently, knowing that don Antonio would have been absent one Sunday, he absolutely didn’t want “another” priest to replace him at the Mass. Sure, he had to be accompanied because of some leg problems, and we were preparing the Mass text with large print to avoid reading difficulties; but he was there, and his homilies were always poignant.

At funerals don Rocco talked about the departed using words representing a balm for the relatives;  it's really sad to think that now he is the one getting a warm memory.

He was a sure reference point for everybody, teaching to look inward; he actively participated in the social life of the town, and also wrote some books containing precious information on popular piety.

We don't want to use here words like “don Rocco has left us”, because we’re sure that he will continue from heaven to take care of his sheep as he did during his tenure.

Once more, people of Pignola showed its huge sensibility in times of need: we’ve raised 600 € to help people  affected by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey, and gave them to our Diocese.

I thank you for this and I bless you all.

                                                                                                       don Antonio Laurita

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