by Nell Nolan, Social columnist,
The Times-Picayune Saturday September 05, 2009,
It was hugely successful with a packed house, great food, and wonderful entertainment," said Debbie Kliebert in describing the recent gathering for the Cefalutana Society (Societa Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza Cefalutana), that started with Mass and then concluded with happy hobnobbing for the 122-year-old organization that was established to benefit the many immigrants from Cefalu, Sicily.
Her words were equally applicable to the 2009 Jesuit Jubilarians of the New Orleans Province and their similarly-formatted festivity, which hailed 23 of the province's priests. All totaled, their record of service tallied 1,500 years. The provincial, the Very Rev. Mark A. Lewis, S.J., presided over Mass at Immaculate Conception Church with the Revs. Donald J. Martin and James N. Caime, both S.J., as respective homilist and music director.
Then it was on to The Roosevelt, where the notable assembly included Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao and his family, Judge Sal and Margaret Mary Mule, John and Mary Jane Becker, Spring Hill College (in Mobile, Ala.) President the Rev. Richard P. Salmi, S.J., Evangeline Vavrick and daughter Eve, Michael and Marjorie Hosemann, Patsy and Jim Hotard, Drs. Lisa and L. Mulry Tetlow, Sally (Mrs. Adrian) Duplantier, Sister Bertrand "Bert" Lieux, C.S.J., and church pastor the Rev. Stephen J. Sauer, S.J.
At the newly-restored landmark hostelry, and in the Roosevelt Ballroom, guests sat at tables topped with crisp linens and silks, as well as balloon bouquets (courtesy of Mary Kay and Bill Zahn) in the thematic colors of maroon and gold. When it was time to partake, the hie was to decorated buffet tables and such taste treats as crawfish pie, pecan-crusted Gulf fish, and a special almond cake from Haydel's Bakery.
Special tokens of appreciation were presented to the S.J. jubilarians, the Revs. Thomas M. Gillin, Hacker J. Fagot, Thomas J. Madden, Charles E. O'Neill, Nicholas T. Schiro, John L. Vessels, Clair M. Cazayoux, Martin L. Elsner, Donald J. Martin, Bert Mead, Robert A. Hagan, Francis X. Pistorius, Javier San Martin, Jacques L. Weber, Donald G. Bahlinger, Garth L. Hallett, Norman B. O'Neal, Paul V. Osterle. Charles B. Thibodeaux, Michael S. Gallagher, Claude N. Pavur, Donald E. Saunders, and Edward G. Benya.
St. Louis Cathedral was the site for the Cefalutana Society's Mass, which was officiated by then-Archbishop Albert Hughes and assisted by Cefalutana member Monsignor Crosby Kern. They both addressed the congregation in English and Italian.
After the prayers came the prandial pleasures at Andrea's, where chef/owner Andrea Apuzzo prepared -- along with a full repast -- a special appetizer called pasta a taianu, based on an old family recipe, which originated in Cefalu in the 12th century. (In Sicilian, taianu means "clay pot," an ancient method of cooking.)
Photo of the interior St. Louis Cathedral New Orleans