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Message du président

It is a pleasure for me to communicate from the Garibaldi Meucci Museum this Fall 2023, a site administered by the NYSOSDIA and owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation.  Indeed, it is one of the “jewels” of the Order, if not THE jewel, for it is OURS, the OSDIA and the entire Italian American community.  Every time I visit there or conduct business in almost a life-long OSDIA relationship since 1985-86, when appointed as the Chairman of the GMM Commission, I have come to know, see and appreciate the value of our Museum.  At the same time I see this as a GIFT to the then L’Ordine d’Figli d’Italia back in 1919 when the community surrounding the GMM was unable to sustain its care and ownership.  At that time, we of the OSDIA received this GIFT.  But as with all gifts, they require care, concern and ongoing development and that means RESPONSIBILITY!


To that end in terms of the issue of responsibility, we have done a “great” job in preserving the 1843 house (now almost 180 years old!) in our concern for the building itself.  It has passed tests by the city buildings department over the years, it has sustained some strong north winds regularly on Staten Island and it yet stands as a beacon for all in the once called “Rosebank Boys” community there.  The beacon shines even brighter since May 21, 2023 when we commenced with the lighting of the Tower of Light or La Torre de Luce, a sculptured work of art and a gift from Venezia by Giorgio Bortoli.  That only added to the luster and importance of the Garibaldi Meucci Museum. The grounds are keep in good shape and security exists in maintaining it safe and sound, and we have a good staff and set of volunteers that literally worry from day to day as to its future and all of the good that has existed and can continue to exist.  But, and there is always a BUT – we cannot exist without the support of our entire Italian American community and that means especially the OSDIA members and their friends, as it is OUR joint museum as Italian Americans.


We know that our fundraising has continued for some years now thru the efforts of those who support the Brick Pathway, although in some ways that initiative has quieted down some, but new proactive approaches must be made and continued.  For example, a few lodges and our friends have decided to commemorate their leaders and former presidents by placing bricks on the path and that has helped tremendously.  Others use the bricks in place of flowers for deceased members and do such regularly.  One group most recently, the Societa SS Maria Addolorata of Astoria, Queens County, an Italian American group with a lively past from Pignataro, Italy, commenced with a few bricks and grew such to over 75 bricks of varying sizes for a contribution of $12,500.  Imagine, just imagine, if we had 10 various Italian American other organizations or OSDIA lodges that did the same!!  It is possible and needs to be encouraged.  Ask your lodge leadership and friends to think about that.


Now as the classes in Italian are resumed, and even attempts at having on-line classes, asked about by some and then with a low enrollment leading to cancellation last year, but we are attempting to do it again.  Imagine, imagine, being in your own home and NO travel to Staten Island and learning Italian!  Let’s get behind it.  How about the lectures that take place, and a trip to Staten Island even once a quarter, as it is not all that far from those locally in the Greater Metropolitan area?  And most of all, how about the raffles, journal ads and attending the Saturday, November 11, 2023 annual Fund Raising Luncheon at The Staaten, one of the best restaurants ever where food abounds.  Later that same day there will be a visit to the GMM and the opening of a special exhibit on Immigration.


So let me close this message with an ASK – and that is TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE GMM.  It is our responsibility, each and every one of the OSDIA members and ALL Italian Americans, both in NYS and throughout the country as we know.  In fact, the Sons of Italy Foundation increased its budgetary assistance for 2023-25, each year and we know that the NYSOSDIA Grand Lodge Foundation traditionally assists with great financial support at the luncheon and convention.  But it is yet, each OUR responsibility to join as members of the GMM, even at $25 per member.  Yes, the GIFT was and is A GIFT, but the RESPONSIBILITY yet persists.  We can do it, we can do it…just imagine!


By Comm. Joseph Sciame

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