December 2019

December 2, 2019 / Comments (0)


My fellow Paisans,

As we all get caught up in the Holiday Season, full from all that turkey and maybe some lasagna, and grateful at Thanksgiving for all of our Blessings, we go into that time of year where we can easily get caught up in the holiday commercialism… but I’m hoping that we take time to reflect on the true meaning of the Season. As we celebrate the Birth of Jesus, let us reflect on what’s important in life. Being kind to one another is such a simple concept, yet so hard for many people to even demonstrate.

I’ve watch many new members come into the Lodge, and often see very few existing members go over and welcome them. I see people who volunteer of their free time, for zero pay, and rarely hear a thank you for volunteering… it’s important to remember that everyone is going through something in their personal life, whether it’s a work issue, challenges in their relationship, perhaps health issues- whether physical ailments or perhaps struggling with some emotional challenges or even financial hardship… and how much would appreciation and a kind word perhaps brighten their entire day.

While Bonnie Montcalmo may be our “official” Sunshine Lady, and sets an outstanding example for all of us.. we ALL have an obligation as Italians, individuals and as Lodge family to help bring people up and share some kindness with one another. We need to set aside any disagreements and disdain that some may have, and truly share Love and Respect for one another, especially during this holiday season, or we’ve missed the entire point of the Birth and death of Jesus. Our lodge has long had a reputation, even before many of us were members, of having clicks and groups not willing to always accept new people… During this Christmas season, it’s time to simply be kind to one another, open our arms and welcome our new members- perhaps strangers today… to be good friends tomorrow.

As we go into the Holidays, I want you to not only welcome new members, but help bring back distant members… we have over 400 members, yet when was the last time that some of you have even been to the lodge? And if it’s been a while, why? What can we do as a council or myself as President to have you come back again…WE WANT YOU!! A very common theme that the government used for many years… well, WE WANT YOU… back at Lodge…I sincerely want to know what can we do new, or perhaps change, or even start up again, to have you come back to the Lodge family?

We are sooo Blessed to not only be Italian Americans, but to have an organization in Little Italy that allows us to promote our heritage and values- it’s nice to say “I belong”- but how much nicer would it be to say..”I donate my time to promote the values that my parents and grandparents raised me on “ and what a wonderful example would it be to your children and grandchildren to pass on those beautiful traditions of our ancestors…

I challenge each of you to let me know, whether through email, text or phone call- what would bring you back… what would bring your children down to the lodge.. While my daughter, Shannon , is a member… she too is extremely busy, but makes time to volunteer at the lodge, she brings my grandchildren down to appreciate the traditions that my grandparents, Sal and Rose, showed me growing up and that I want my grandchildren exposed to our Italian traditions…Life goes by in a blink, we’re ALL busy, but family, giving back, and keeping Italian traditions going is what it’s all about…. or should be..

Please, during this busy holiday Season, as you gather around the table and appreciate your family and count your Blessings, think about what you can do to perpetuate your Italian traditions to your family that you currently have lost sight of in our hectic daily lives…Please let me know what I can do to support you in reconnecting with your roots… what will bring you down to the Lodge to find your pride and traditions that you were raised on… We’re here… but I want you to join us.. and bring the family, too!

Whatever ideas, comments or suggestions that you may have, please let me know…I’ll be waiting to make that connection through what connects us all… our Italian traditions, heritage and hopefully Italian Pride…

God Bless you all during this hectic Holiday season, and remember- it costs us nothing to be kind to a stranger… it’s what we were taught as children that is often lost on many as adults….

Mike Castino