There is something of a personal connection to San Gennaro. He was bishop of Benevento in Campania during Diocletian’s persecutions in the year 305. One of my maternal great–grandfathers, Giuseppe Martino came to the United States from Gioia–Sanitica in the Province of Benevento; his wife, my great–grandmother Rosina Biondi was from Faicchio in the same province.
Giuseppe and Rosina Martino raised their family — my grandmother Adelina was the eldest — in a little white house on Daisy Street in the Highwood section of Hamden. They made their own wine, their own pasta, and their own sausage. They grew their own vegetables. To me, the cellar of that house was a magical place fragrant with dried basilico and other herbs. The wine was kept there too.
The roots of our family’s Italian Catholic heritage are soaked in the blood of the martyrs. It grieves me that some of the descendents of Giuseppe and Rosina have forsaken the faith of generations. The joyful transmission of the faith is a sacred responsibility.