One of Rhode Island’s all-time best summer events – the Saint Rocco’s Feast and Festival – will make its return in Johnston from Aug. 15-18.
However, before favorites like doughboys and meatball sandwiches surface again, the celebration’s colorful religious events will be held beginning Monday, Aug. 12, and continuing through Wednesday, Aug. 14, inside the ageless Roman Catholic church located a 927 Atwood Ave.
“Our religious events are the parish’s preparation for the Feast of Saint Rocco,” said John Ricci, the event’s longtime co-chairman who shares duties with Richard Montella. “We begin with a Triduum of masses that will all being at 7 p.m. those three days.”
Ricci announced that the Aug. 12 Mass will be led by Rev. Phillip Dufour, associate pastor at St. Phillips Church in Greenville. The Rev. Eric Silva from St. Luke’s Church in Barrington will deliver the Mass on Aug. 13.
On Wednesday, Aug. 14, the service will be followed by the traditional candlelight procession and rosary outside the church and the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The fun and food-filled festival will begin on the Saint Rocco Church grounds on Thursday, Aug. 15, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 18. There will be a variety of entertainment and attractions, including a beer garden, raffles and many different games and rides set up by Rockwell Amusements.
Sunday, Aug. 18 will begin with what Ricci called the “century-old tradition” of a solemn Mass at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Jeremy J. Rodrigues, administrative assistant to Providence Bishop Thomas Joseph Tobin, serving as the main celebrant and homilist.
The Mass will be immediately followed by a procession featuring the statute of Saint Rocco being carried through the streets.
Panini – a special bread – will be blessed in honor of Saint Rocco and distributed after the 8 and 11 a.m. masses on Sunday, Aug. 18.
So the stage is set for what Ricci, Montella and Saint Rocco Church’s pastor, the Rev. Angelo Carusi, hope will be four great days.
The festival will from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15-17, with the festival opening at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and closing at 10 p.m. The always-exciting fireworks show is set for 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The 2019 Saint Rocco’s Feast and Festival will wrap up on Sunday, Aug. 18, at approximately 9:30 p.m. with the annual grand raffle drawing. Prizes include a two-year, 21,000-mile lease for a 2019 Lincoln MKC and cash prizes of $1,500 and $1,000.
Raffle tickets are on sale, and people who’d like to purchase them in advance may so do at the church.