When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Religious Life
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This formal funeral photo in front of the hearse shows family and Italian Society members:  Right to left:  Leandro (Andy Oliva), Francesco Alampi, Louie Salvador, Capola brothers [uncertain], Silio Castellano, Giorgio Aristone and Oswaldo Castellano.  Deceased is Francesco OlivaThe Roman Catholic Church is the established church of Italy and its history is intertwined with the history of the country. Its central role in not only the spiritual life of Italians but also their customs and traditions is unquestionable. This is what immigrants from Italy brought to coal mining communities. Italian culture values religion—or generally a spiritual and moral outlook on life.

The church blesses all rites of passage in life—marriage, birth, death, and feast days give shape to the seasons. All hold both religious and secular significance. Because in the mining communities, there were no Italian parishes, Italians worshipped in the local Catholic church and a number of them developed close ties with missionaries such as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who came from Europe and some of whom spoke Italian.

 

 

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