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San Gennaro Pains

San Gennaro barricades

San Gennaro extra cops

San Gennaro
by Tibi Z. Singer

OK, I’m officially sick and tired of the 79th Annual Feast of San Gennaro, which is making traffic between Allen and Center Streets a nightmare. Yesterday afternoon we were stuck for who knows how long behind a mover’s truck trying to maneuver on Baxter Street to make a left turn, but the congestion was so debilitating, with another freaking truck stuck half-way in the intersection. It was a horror show.

Cops, you’re asking? There were more cops than pigeons, but even cops can’t lift up a mover’s truck above the colorful stalls and the packed streets. Who’s idea was it to have a festival start before 7 PM every day? I’ll tell you who: Figli di San Gennaro, Inc., who’ve been running this show since 1996. They say they’re not-for-profit, but does that necessarily mean they have to suck the meager profits everyone else down here is trying to make? How can anyone deliver anything in this congestion?

Oh, and just who was this San Gennaro, you’re asking? Most Precious Blood Church, the National Shrine Church of San Gennaro, 109 Mulberry Street, 212-226-6427 reports:

San Gennaro never made headlines during his lifetime. Very little is known about him except that he was bishop of Benevento, Italy, and died a martyr in 305 A.D., during the persecution spearheaded by Emperor Diocletian.

Actually, the zealous prelate seems to have signed his death warrant when he risked the wrath of local pagan officials by visiting the deacons Sosso and Proculo and the laymen Eutichete and Acuzio in jail. The warden observing this stranger trying to comfort the Christian prisoners naturally concluded that he must be a Christian. Therefore he too must be shut up behind bars.

Shortly afterwards, the proconsul Timothy had Gennaro arrested and clapped into jail. Subsequently he underwent various forms of torture, without wavering in resolution to remain loyal to Christ.

The proconsul's agents then had the generous confessor of the faith thrown headlong into a furnace, fully convinced that the flames would reduce him to ashes. By the grace of God he came through unscathed. Furious, the agents gave themselves no rest until their victim had been sentenced to be beheaded.

Gennaro, who had refused to bow his head in cowardly fashion at a pagan leader's bidding, surrendered it to the steel's deathblow. His companions shared a similar fate.

But what they don’t tell you is that while all this torturing was going on, all the martyrs' oxcarts were double parked in front of the town jail.

Just kidding…


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