Food, community at heart of Our Lady of Grace's 10th Primavera

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Marvelous memories and mouth-watering munchies.

That pretty much sums up the 10th annual Our Lady of Grace Primavera, which was a mecca for fanciers of the fork and food.

Sunday’s event, which featured special servings from 35 of Rhode Island’s top restaurants, was also a testimonial to former Our Lady of Grace pastor and now Monsignor Carlo F. Montecalvo. He was named to his present post by Pope St. John Paul in 2003 and was honored as the grand marshal of this year’s Primavera.

In the middle of the event were Joe Andreozzi and his wife, Joan, who worked tirelessly ever since last year’s event concluded and may have produced the best Primavera in Our Lady of Grace’s storied history.

“This is without question a labor of love for Joe and Joan,” said Joe Grasso, an Our Lady of Grace parishioner who recently staked claim to the parish’s annual golf tournament title.

Fioretti Hall – which was overflowing with people Sunday – was the place to be. Whether you wanted perfect pasta, side dishes or an event entrées, Our Lady of Grace had food to please any palate.

If you wanted to meet and greet people from all walks of life, the Primavera featured young children having fun while their elders of all ages enjoyed a smorgasbord of food.

The sounds of an accordion provide Italian-style music, while WPRI news anchor Mike Montecalvo served as the event’s emcee.

“It will be difficult to top this any time soon,” said Arnie Vecchione, Johnston’s DPW director and an accomplished volunteer chef. “This is special. Just look at all the people.”

Make that nearly 300 people who enjoyed a number of specially cooked foods served by David and Laura Ashworth of Parma Restaurant in Johnston. Gina Musto, who owns and operates Cucina Rustica in Cranston, offered Amaretto bread pudding and blueberry panna cotta as well.

“Primavera was very special in so many ways, especially since we had Monsignor Montecalvo as our grand marshal,” said the Rev. Peter J. Gower, the pastor at the Roman Catholic Parish.

It was Monsignor Montecalvo, in fact, who has been an inspiration to Gower through the years dating back to his days as a young boy when he spent the summer at Saint Dominic Savio Camp in Wakefield.

“He was my camp counselor and made such an impressive on me that I attribute the early call to a priestly vocation to his pastoral approach,” Gower said. “And as pastor at Our Lady of Grace Church for nine years, Monsignor Montecalvo and his approach to ministry touched the lives of so many, so it was a joy to honor him at the 10th anniversary of Primavera.”

Carlo F. Montecalvo was born on Feb. 17, 1948, to Marcangelo and Thelma (Spillane) Montecalvo, the first born of four sons.

He was ordained a transitional deacon on March 18, 1972, and Bishop Gelineau assigned him to Our Lady of Grace for his diaconate. He was ordained a priest on Oct. 4, 1973, at Our Lady of Grace Church.

He sought permission to join the U.S. Air Force as a chaplain and was commissioned to the rank of captain and began his ministry in July 1978. He retired with the full rank of colonel in 2004. His career in the priesthood has been filled with special successes and he is presently ministering at Immaculate Conception Parish in Westerly. 

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