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Father De Maria

Picture conserved inside the shrine of the Church of Saint John Baptist in Acitrezza

He was born on the 12th December of 1857 in the age of  19 he started his studies attending at the archiepiscopal seminary in Catania first, and after that he continued on at the seminary in Acireale. On the 19th May 1883 he was ordained as priest. Than he was assigned to the parish of "S. Maria dell'Itria" in Acireale.On The 15th May of 1884 he was named curate chancellor of the parish in Acitrezza.

It succeeds to widen the church of S. Giovanni Baptist, in particular, he realized the shrine and on it, a rectory of three floors that was completed in 1902. Thanks to his perseverance was recognized the right to the deanery of the church of Aci S. Filippo.
In 1903 he re-instituted the archpriest of Acitrezza, becoming the sixth archpriest after 50 years from the last (Don Salvatore Spina).
We can describe De Maria
as punctilious, passionate and scrupulous for his abilities to study the local history of Acireale. These are his publications: "memorie storiche di Aci S. Lucia", "il culto di S. Giovanni Battista in Acitrezza", "nel sesto centenario dell'incendio del castello di Aci", etc.
But De Maria wrote a lot in particular about Acitrezza: he scrupulously wrote a note of all that he thought was important for the history of Acitrezza but thanks to today's priest of Acitrezza, Don Salvatore Coco and Dr. Gaetano Cosimo Cacciola, they came in part recovered and published on the book " Acitrezza e il suo Parroco tra '800 and '900 ".
Meanwhile he had cultivated his passion for archaeology that would have been of inestimable value for Acitrezza . He began to collect all old coins, pieces, earthenware and whatever was found in the area during the digs for the building of new houses. He created a small museum in a room of his rectory.
In March of 1928 he was forced to discharge himself like priest of Acitrezza. He went away from the place because he thought that his archaeological collection
would have been better held far from potential damage that wrong hands could bring  and then, in June of 1933, he donated it to the "Zelantea" of Acireale.
In 1948 he came back to Acitrezza
to live last moments of his own life. The 30th September of 1950 he died. He was buried in the communal cemetery of Acicastello.
He really gave a lot to Acitrezza, perhaps like nobody
else. It is thanks to his efforts that today the new Parish of “S. Maria la Nuova” exists, because he bought a land on the 27th February 1918, thinking that Acitrezza was going to get bigger and just a church was not enough.

Copyright© 2000-2002 Grasso Giovanni - Antonio Guarnera. Tradotto da Mario Grasso. Translated by Mario Grasso. Tutti i diritti sono riservati. All rights reserved. Vietata la riproduzione anche parziale

Renewed: 20-07-05 .