Italian American Heritage Month kicked off on Oct 2 with a ceremony and celebration at Cleveland City Hall.
After some brief welcome remarks by Cleveland Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone, event co-chairman, Bishop Nelson Perez offered an opening prayer.
“The Italian culture is a gift to the city and Church,” the bishop said, offering thanks for the gifts of art, food and more under the Italian banner. He also asked for prayers for those who were killed and injured in the mass shooting incident the night of Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.
Mayor Frank Jackson, who is part Italian, also made some brief remarks before the ceremony that honored five Italian-Americans for their contributions.
This year’s honorees are:
- Robert and Aldo Capellone – business
- Julius Ciaccia Jr. – public servant
- Lorraine Dodero – cultural arts
- Billy Donato – performing arts
- Paul Sciria (posthumously) – special lifetime achievement award.
Bishop Perez offered a closing prayer and grace before Donato entertained event attendees and they enjoyed a meal.
This is the 12th year that the city is observing Italian American Heritage Month during October. The month-long celebration also includes a Mass at 10 a.m. on Oct. 9 at Holy Rosary Church in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, followed by the traditional Columbus Day Parade in Little Italy.