News from San Antonio Church – Jan. 16, 2022

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Weekly Bulletin January 16, 2022

by Terrie Evans

As we anticipate our next celebration of San Antonio Families, today we introduce the Belfiore Family.  They will be honored along with the LaCortiglia and Gorrasi Families on February 6th.  Joseph Belfiore was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 9, 1915, and moved back to Italy in 1923.   When World War II broke out, he was still living in Italy and was required to serve under their flag or if he refused would be sent to prison.   Because   he fought against the United States, Joseph lost his American Citizenship.  Joseph’s wife, Teresa Guerriero was born in 1917 to parents Salvatore and Luisa Dapoli Guerriero.  Teresa Guerriero (1917-2001) wed Joseph Belfiore (1915-2003) in Italy where two  (Anna and Lina) of their three children were born.  After their marriage, Teresa and Joseph worked for years to return to America.  They along with their daughters, Anna and Lina were able to enter the United States on the Refugee Relief Act.  To be eligible for admission, refugees were required to show evidence of a place to live and a job that their Sponsor in the United States would provide.  During those years there were quotas as our country sought immigrants from Southern Europe which gave way for many Italians and Greeks who wished to come here with their families.

The Belfiore journeyed from Mugnano del Cardinale near Naples in August 1955 and arrived in America one week later.  After their arrival they settled around church in the Little Italy neighborhood of South Fairmount.  Joseph’s sister Anna Belfiore had married Carmen LaCortiglia and they helped them establish in the area.  They joined San Antonio Church and moved to an apartment on the corner of Harrison and Fairmount Avenues directly above the Open-Door Bar.  Joseph took many jobs to support his family by mowing grass and delivering beer for Black Label Brewing Company   while Teresa worked in a Tailor Shop.    Anna enrolled at St. Bonaventura School where learning English was an obstacle.   Devoted teacher, Sr. Edwardine , the guardian angel who tutored her doing lunch time until she felt comfortable in class.   When Lina started school, Anna was able to guide her younger sister because of what she went through.   

By 1958, the Belfiore’s were able to buy their own home at 1958 Fairmount Avenue right before their son Aristide (Reese) was born.   They had much support during those rough times from San Antonio Church and all the families who worshiped there and as a result, were devoted to our church.  Teresa Belfiore was an excellent cook and by 1961 opening a restaurant seemed the next step in their future.  They were hoping to make a successful transition to make a better way of life for their children.  They leased a building at 4914 Glenway Avenue and a few years later borrowed the funds to buy the building.  The excellent – fresh homemade Italian cuisine spoke for itself and by 1970 Cincinnati Magazine voted Bella Napoli the best Italian Restaurant in Cincinnati – a title the restaurant held for many years. 

By 1974 Joseph and Teresa purchased a home in Delhi with 3 acres and a pond-truly their American Dream.  Teresa and Joseph made many memories with their children, Anna, Lina, and Reese until Parkinson disease hit Joseph and Teresa’s health declined when they moved to a nursing home where Teresa passed away in 2001 and Joseph in 2003.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

As we celebrate the New Year of 2022, our San Antonio Parishioners are getting closer to the 100th Anniversary of our church.  While looking forward, we look back to the year in 1922 when a small contingent of dedicated native Italians now proud Americans established a place of worship to call their own.  Over the years many generations have been given the task of preserving our humble church and honoring the jewel of the neighborhood that our beloved Sister of Charity, Blandina Segale founded for the immigrants she so proudly served.  We will never forget her or all those family members who have dedicated themselves to the growth of our church or the dedication they have to the families within the church.  

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