Welcome - President's Message

Dear members,

My interest in being involved with the Gildonese Association of Montreal began 5 years ago when I attended the Feast of Our Lady at the Chapelle de la Réparation. This wasn't the first time I'd attended this annual party, but it was the first time I saw something I'd never noticed. The exact moment happened when about 6-8 men were preparing to carry the statue of our Madonna to the altar. A feat that is never easy. The statue is very heavy and must be transported with synchronization and stability. Most notably, all of the volunteers were of a generation born in 1940. They summoned all their strength to ensure that the statue rested safely on the altar. The pride in their smiles was unmistakable. They were proud to be there, they were proud to be Gildonesi.

This was the first moment I realized we had to step forward to support what our ancestors started in 1965 when the Gildonese Association of Montreal was founded by Nicola Di Lillo. In 2019, I found myself in Italy with my wife and 2 children. During that time we were invited to Gildone for a party. More precisely, La Festa delle Emigranti, and it was to honor the Gildonese who emigrated to other countries after the Second World War. We were welcomed to a full day of great food, wine, music and dancing. Talking to the Gildone villagers that day in Italy, I understood where that sense of pride came from. They had tears in their eyes when they talked about their country. They wanted us to stay longer, to know more and to see more.

Again, I felt the same sense of urgency. I had to do more to pay homage to a culture that has remained strong for so many years.

As a group, we must remember the past and our traditions and we must look to the future for our children so that they can learn about their heritage and rich culture. I invite all Gildonesi members to attend our upcoming events, spread the word, and let our children witness our Gildone's pride.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead this association and I will do my best to keep our unity strong.

Sincerely yours,

Lino Mandato
President of the Gildonese Association of Montreal

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