The Carlentinesi officially dedicated their town to Santa Lucia in 1621. Several stories emerged naming the exact spot where Lucia rested during a pilgrimage to Catania to visit the tomb of Saint Agata. In Via Porta Agnone, an olive tree stood until the 1940s called in Sicilian the “U peri aliva ri S. Lucia”. Its oil fueled a lamp at the shrine to Santa Lucia on that spot. Today, the tree is gone, but the shrine remains.
Today, the festa at Carlentini is as strong as ever despite some recent hardships. On the night of Santa Lucia’s feast day – December 13, 1990 – an earthquake struck very close to Carlentini that killed 17 people and left 15,000 homeless. Even though it had been almost a century since the Carlentinesi had immigrated to Omaha, the community rallied to raise money for their relief through St. Frances Cabrini parish.
In Sicily the Santa Lucia Festival is a great time, not only for fun and food, but for spiritual renewal.
The annual Mass for Santa Lucia is held at Chiesa Madre Church in Carlentini. Visit Their Page Here.