News from San Antonio Church – Oct. 3, 2021

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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.

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