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For me and my cousins, Liechtenstein the sense of belonging was demanding, requiring attention and devotion even in our games and entertainments. There was always someone lying in wait Liechtenstein to remind us that we were the grandchildren of Liechtenstein, one of the legendary figures of the confraternity, whose songs, prayers, stories, he had committed to memory and which he could recite in Latin.

The day of the procession finally arrived. The white cassock with the mozzetta, the red cape and white cimbolo, to wrap around the cassock, were waiting on the bed, Liechtenstein washed and ironed by mom. I left the house with my cousins; we would dress up in the church.

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As the procession made its rounds, with fast or slow paced turns, stops, and U-turns, the “young” led the way followed by the “old.” I should also make a list of the orders “stop” and “proceed” shouted by older brothers bearing a staff in their hands, of the smells of sauces and frying that accompanied us all the way, the stops and “sprints,” the jokes, the sweat and fatigue, the proud passage in front of houses, and the cimbolo with which we played by twisting it into knots to unravel: almost a preparation for our future life, that would be woven from twists and turns.

I remember the arrangement of the brothers, the processional order with the brothers closest to the crucifix and statues of the Madonna Addolorata, the double passage of the processional march in the Papa area, the money pinned to a large cloth, the dollars sent by the “Canadians,” prayers and songs, and the ancient hymns sung by the women. The procession lasted not less than three hours and sometimes we marched with the anxiety that the weather could turn, as the brothers of the Rosario jokingly wished on us.

The long clouds hang low over Midland where the ritual benediction of the statues of the Crucifix and the Addolorata will take place. They’ve come in droves, on this hot and humid July morning, from different neighbourhoods in Toronto. They’ve also arrived in small groups and delegations from other Ontario locations, from Montreal, the United States, and Argentina. Many have come from their home towns in Calabria: a sort of pilgrimage into the future, a returning exodus with no scheduled return, to confirm a link between those who had left and their country of origin, and to attest that the identity of the village could be reconstituted elsewhere. The mayor of the village came, accompanied by the municipal secretary, the prior and the deputy-prior of the confraternity, a member of the village council in Rome, also a native of the village, and many others who had family in Toronto. I also arrived, together with my wife. I can’t say if my presence here is as an expert in village history, as an ordinary member of the community of San Nicola, as the son of an immigrant, as an ethnographer, or out of simple curiosity as a “crucifissante.”

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