Manchester’s Italian community comes to the fore this Sunday with its most high profile event, the Madonna del Rosario Procession, in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Procession, in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, involves the carrying of religious emblems, The Madonna, The Calvary, St.Anthony and banners, from Ancoats across Manchester city centre, towards the Town Hall.
The procession is accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Manchester councillors, members from the Italian consul, women in the colourful regional dress of Italy, and children in First Communion Dress.
The events roots can be traced back to 1888 with a vibrant Italian community having settled in and around Ancoats.
Large groups of immigrants from Southern Europe came to Manchester looking for work in the city’s cotton mills and settled in their thousands, making their living in specialised areas like terrazzo tiling, barrel organs and making ice cream.
A local priest, Father Tynan, realising the need for a society for the local Italian people forming The Manchester Italian Catholic Society.
Its most popular event of the calendar of Little Italy, was the spectacular ‘Festa of the Madonna of Mount Carmel’, which would become the ‘Festa of the Madonna of the Rosario’ where the men of the community would carry the statue of the Blessed Virgin through the streets of the city.
It always started from from St.Vincent’s Convent in New Islington, but as the convent closed in the sixties, the procession starting point moved to St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church.
This year’s procession starts at 1.30 from St. Michael’s former church, George Leigh Street, Ancoats making its way through the city centre to arrive at St Peter’s Square around 2.45.