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    Father Giovanni Bonelli:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni

Camillo Bridarolli

Mr. & Mrs. Henry

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano

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Building of Church:

  • interviewer (Sab Roncucci) asked if they had come from Chicago with a bundle of money for a new church; Father Bonelli replied that that was "hardly the case!"

  • appeal on radio program (Mr. Biagiotto?) for funding; first collection garnered $37.

  • was church for sale near Sacred Heart (but there were 3 other catholic churches on the same corner already) 96 Street & 108 Avenue

  • Mr. Giannone (owner of Cromdale Hotel) became business partner/advisor - advice was to wait, find land, build own church

  • Mr. Giannone organized, fundraised, & helped construct church in Italian community

  • discussion of name for church - Santa Maria Goretti was chosen because she was also an immigrant (came from near Ancona)

  • documentary film made of Santa Maria Goretti Parish beginning

  • Mayor Hawrelak was at sod turning Sept.8/58

  • Sept.11/58, digging began; beautiful fall; by Dec.21/58 church was built and furnished.

  • Bishop came Christmas Eve to bless church

  • whole community came together to be part - all contributed in some way


  • anecdote - Father Bonelli says, "We are recognized as Italians because our lips are tied with hands," that is, when we move our lips we move our hands.

  • priest was secretary on Sab Roncucci's trip to Ottawa for the Italian Congress, where it was noted that Italians (as a group) in Canada were in least trouble with the law; highest for strong family ties. 


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