Feast of St. Rita of Cascia, Ritiane Celebrations
Each year Cascia (PG), from May 12th to 22nd, celebrates his favorite daughter and Patron Saint, Saint Rita of Cascia, thanks to the Ritiane Celebrations and to the Feast of St. Rita.
The celebrations include, in the preceding 15 Thursdays to May 22nd, the "Thursdays of Santa Rita", faith meetings in preparation for the Feast. Appointment scheduled for nearly three hundred years.
On May 12th begins the Solemn Novena of St. Rita. Every day from 18:00 at the Basilica of St. Rita, with the faithful at the end of the celebrations can approach the urn of silver and crystal that holds the body of Rita. To the Novena (but also to the torch night of the 21st, note) also participate in the other inhabitants of the Nera Valley, with special pilgrimages.
On May 19th there is the "Processione dello Stendardo". Established by the City of Cascia in 1731 to thank the Blessed Rita of her protection over the city during the earthquakes. On the standard carried in procession, of the seventeenth century, is depicts the entrance in the Augustinian monastery and the Santa in the act of receiving the stigmata.
From May 20th to 22nd is time for the "Feast of St. Rita". In the evening of the 20th there is the presentation of the women who will receive the next afternoon at the Basilica the 'Riconoscimento Internazionale S. Rita' prize.
To pursue the message of brotherhood left by Rita, Cascia annually performs a twinning with an Italian or foreign city, with which occur during the year meetings and joint events. From the twin city (which for the 2013 edition will be Ramnicu Vâlcea, Romania), usually a week before, leaves the torch of the S. Rita brought in Cascia by the sports group more representative of the twin city. The group arrives in front of the sagrato of the Basilica of Santa Rita on the night of May 21st at 21:30, with the guest Mayor that, in front of the first citizen of Cascia and those of the Nera Valley, lit the flame of the tripod, the symbol of friendship. After that, all the torches arranged in Cascia and in the surrounding hills blaze, for what is called "incendio di fede" ("fire of faith"). During the night, thousands of pilgrims arrive, as happened when the Saint died.
On May 22nd, after the SS. Masses from 5 to 9, at 10:15 in front of the Basilica comes the Historical Parade, with over 400 participants. These tableaux, with considerable historical accuracy, represent the human story of Rita. Afterwards, Solemn Pontifical, Petition to Santa Rita and Blessing of the Roses, the symbol of the Saint, her favourite flower.
For more information visit santaritadacascia.org.