NORWICH – For more than 80 years, parishioners at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church on East Main Street in Norwich have come together for an annual festival to celebrate the longstanding Itialian Catholic heritage in the area and help sustain a church that has become an unmistakable staple in the community.
Friday marks the 85th annual St. Bartholomew Italian Feast Celebration at the Monsignor Festa Parish Center, 81 E. Main St. in Norwich. The three-day annual gala - which began in 1927 as a fundraiser to construct the church itself - features an arrangement of music, games, raffles and – of course – some of the finest Italian cuisine to be found. According to organizers, the intent is to carry on a tradition passed down for more than three generations of parishioners and preserve the legacy of the Italian Catholic Church.
“This is such an important tradition for us,” explained JoAnn Testani, a longtime parishioner of the church. “We are trying to carry on the traditions passed down to us by our parents and our grandparents.”