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Wednesday, November 12, 2008   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosemary Servidio
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On November 2, 2008, Saint Peter's College became the first academic institution in New Jersey to act as the base for an Order of the Sons of Italy in America lodge --the newly formed Father Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Lodge (No. 2847). President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., and Father Yanitelli's niece, Margo Read Birke, were among the guest speakers.

Membership to “Father Vic” Lodge, which is not officially affiliated with Saint Peter's College, is open to anyone in the Jersey City, Hudson County, and surrounding areas, who meets the following criteria:

· Any person who can trace their ancestry to Italy, or spouses of those who can (regular member); or

· Any person who cannot trace their ancestry to Italy, but is interested in Italian and Italian American culture (social member).

The first general membership meeting of the Father Vic Lodge will be held on Tuesday, November 18 at 7:00 PM at Saint Peter's College. Please contact David Bryngil for more information.

Under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey, Saint Peter's College administrators, faculty, staff, and students founded the Father Vic Lodge. The founding/charter officers of the Lodge are employees of Saint Peter's: Salvatore J. Turchio, President (Dean of Students), David Bryngil, First Vice President for Membership and Publicity (Director of the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center), and Enzo Fonzo, Second Vice President for Finance (Director of Career Services).

According to Mr. Turchio, “It is only fitting that the lodge name honors the first Italian American president of Saint Peter's College, who had an enormous impact on the College and Jersey City.” Mr. Turchio added, “Thanks to Dr. Cornacchia, the College's second Italian American president, the Father Vic Lodge is able to call Saint Peter's College its “home.”

Dr. Cornacchia and his wife, AnnMarie, joined the lodge as honorary charter members; Ms. Read Birke, daughter of Father Yanitelli's late brother, George, who was a long-time professor at Saint Peter's College, was also an honorary inductee. In all, there are 41 charter members of the lodge.

Founded in 1905 in New York City to help the early Italian immigrants, OSIA began as “L'Ordine Figli d'Italia (“Order Children of Italy”). OSIA today is the nation's leading Italian American service and advocacy organization, and the oldest and largest national organization in the United States for Italian American men and women. OSIA has a grass roots network of more than 700 lodges or chapters coast-to-coast.

Since 1959, OSIA, through its philanthropic arm (the Sons of Italy Foundation), has given nearly $95 million to scholarships, medical research, disaster relief, and other projects. Through its anti-defamation arm [the Commission for Social Justice (CSJ)], OSIA is committed to fighting racism, prejudice, and the stereotyping of Italian Americans and people of other cultures, races, and religions.

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