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Weekly Bulletin October 3, 2021
by Terrie Evans
On this Sunday, October 3rd, San Antonio Church will celebrate and honor the Delseno’s, Di Stefano’s (Stevens), Cerullo and Serraino Families. These families are part of the history of our church and the settlement of southern Italian Families who came to Cincinnati for a better way of life. The men from these four families (in the St. Anthony Welfare Center dedication picture) came to the America where they believed that the streets where paved in gold but, upon their arrival, they found there were no golden streets, the streets were not even paved and many took jobs to pave them. They worked as laborers; married and raised families while following the American dream so each generation would have a better future. Angelo and Philomena Delseno , married for over 60 years hoped their children would get an education and move up to better jobs; and they did. The Delseno siblings went on the have their own families and achieve more as the son of Nelda Delseno and Edward Ekhardt did. Dennis Ekhardt grew up in South Fairmount and paid homage to his grandparents and parents in his book, “Every Life is a Story and this is Mine”. He wrote about growing up in the Little Italy neighborhood of South Fairmount with his group of friends Joe (Frog) Stevens, Bob (Butch) Prinzo, Pat (Dubba Doy) Lucia, Wayne (Monk) Serraino, Lenny (Lout) Lyons and his years in the Navy rising from a Seaman Recruit, to Naval Officer and Retirement.
The Donato and Louise Di Stefano(Stevens) Family settled here after their arrival in 1906, with their oldest son, Dominic Stevens, born in Italy. The other siblings became first generation Americans with their son Noble Louis Stevens and his bride Evelyn Orem the first to wed in the new San Antonio Church on April 14, 1941. During the years of World War II many from these Italian Families served our country proudly as their son Dan Stevens did. He became a POW held by Germans for almost 3 years as he conversed in Italian with his captors while working as a shoemaker in the camp. His parents Donato and Louise (Roberto) Stevens along with the San Antonio Church community said many prayers for his survival. Dan did survive; came home to marry, live a full family life and live to be 78.
The were 2 Cerullo families who attended San Antonio Church. The Antonio and Rose ( Stevens) Cerullo Family along with daughter Marlene (Cerullo) Steers served our church faithfully for many years. The other early Cerullo Family, Carmine and Rose (Lingardo) Cerrullo settled in Old Forge, Pennsylvania first where their son Joseph (1923-1924) and daughter Viola was born. They came to Cincinnati for son Amedeo was born and where Carmine’s half-brother Patrizio Bonaventura (1881-1943) had settled.
The Anthony and Philomena Serraino Family settled in South Fairmount twice, once for his work on the Western Hills Viaduct and the other was when they relocated back here from Hartford Connecticut. They became good friends with Anthony and Rose (Stevens) Cerullo , Godparents to their daughter, Carmella (Cumi) Serraino Berger. Their son, Rev. Fred Serraino C.S.C. was born in Cincinnati in 1930 and grew up with life-long friends, the late Ralph Minella and Buddy LaRosa. Rev. Fred Serraino C.S.C. celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination into the Holy Cross Order in 2018. They Delseno, Stevens, Cerullo and Serraino Families brought many traditions with them to their new home country but they never lost the spirit of village closeness known as Campanilismo – their loyalty to those who live within the sound of the village church bells. The sense of identity, of pride and belonging. Decades later we still have that devotion to our church and loyalty to each other.