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GRAND LODGE OF MASSACHUSETTS New England’s Largest Italian-American Newspaper Email: • Website:



(ISSN 0038-1446)

Massachusetts Education and Law Awards This year, the Commission for Social Justice and the Scholarship Commission, both under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, are combining their signature events into one day, honoring the most prestigious Italian American leaders and students throughout the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge. This combined event, known as the Massachusetts Education and Law Awards, will take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014. The Commission for Social Justice is pleased and honored to announce the following recipients of this year’s awards. The “Justice Award” recipient is The Honorable Peter C. DiGangi, Justice of the Probate Court of Lawrence. Judge DiGangi began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York before his initial appointment to the bench in 2001 as an Associ-

Honorable Peter C. DiGangi Justice Award

Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr. Law Award

Michael A. Caira Public Service Award

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS: Sergeant Jeffrey J. Pugliese, Watertown Police Department Firefighters James Caruso and Pat Menton, Watertown Fire Department ate Justice in the Probate and Family Court Department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He went on to serve as First Justice of the Middlesex

Probate and Family Court for six years. Judge DiGangi is a member of the Massachusetts, Boston, Essex County, and Salem Bar Associations, former

president of the Justinian Law Society, the National ItalianAmerican Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Family and Probate Inn of Court, and a

former Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers. Judge DiGangi also served as house and trial counsel of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (North Shore Chapter) for 14 years. The recipient of the “Law Award” is Chief Leo A. Sacco Jr. Chief Sacco is the Chief of the Medford Police Department and the Control Chief of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council School Threat Assessment and Response System (STARS) and Computer Crimes Unit. As part of the STARS program, Chief Sacco makes sure schools have safety plans, training, early warning systems, counseling, and advocates to ensure school safety. Chief Sacco takes a notable interest in the well-being of the citizens and the community, and stays personally (Continued on Page 8)

Casa Monte Cassino Boston’s Hidden International Home by Adriana Guida Sitting in a small room that functions as a living room, dining room, kitchen, and common area for up to six families at any given time, I had a conversation with the manager and a few guests of the Casa Monte Cassino, one of the only organizations in Boston that provides cost-free living space to families in need that come seeking the world-class medical treatment area hospitals provide. Two of the guests, Gabriella and Gianfranco, hail from Italy, and we can only communicate briefly with the help of a translator (coincidentally, another guest: Ana). The manager, Alpha Paradela, reflects the Casa itself: small in stature, but full of energy and enthusiasm about the home that her organization provides to patients from all over the world. It becomes clear early on in our conversation that the work she does at the Casa, as its only full-time volunteer manager no less, is

a labor of love. Alpha, in her fourth year with the Casa, not only coordinates with the local hospitals and doctors, but makes sure the families staying at the Casa are comfortable. Really, they are treated as if they are her own family members, sharing meals together at the Casa, or spending holidays at Alpha’s home with her family. Alpha remains in contact with many of the families, some who will return multiple times for more treatments, and some who she simply considers friends after the experiences shared together. She remembers the names of families whose stays were years ago, and fondly tells me the stories of one family after another that make it seem like she had spent years with them individually, instead of just a few months. Gabriella, Gianfranco, and Ana, all repeat visitors, share similar memories of these same families, denoting the connec-

tions made in such a short period of time and despite worries about their own treatments. Gabriella and Gianfranco first came to the Casa 20 years ago while being treated for a spinal cord tumor. Recently, after many years of remission, the tumor reoccurred, requiring the family to return to Boston. Two decades after their original visit, they have returned to the Casa from Italy while Gianfranco receives his treatment, and take comfort in the fact that they are able to stay in a familiar Italian American community with someone like Alpha to work with them. Ana is originally from Chile, and credits the Casa especially for the friends her son has been able to make, overcoming obstacles related to his medical situation to make connections to the other children who call the Casa their home. The children who come to the Casa particularly benefit from

Assistant Adriana Guida, State President Carmelita Bello, manager Alpha Paradela, and guests Gianfranco, Ana, and Gabriella. (Not pictured: Executive Director Paul Guida) the supportive community that surrounds them, as they are surrounded by other children in the same situation who they can relate to. Caring for all these families, however, doesn’t come without significant challenges. With the

guests, there are language and cultural barriers that must be navigated to make families feel more at home while they’re at the Casa. While the Casa began as a home for Italians, families (Continued on Page 8)

Join the Grand Lodge of MassachuseƩs as we celebrate our

100th Anniversary with a Black Tie Gala on Saturday, October 4, 2014

Demetri’s FuncƟon Facility 2 Washington Street, Route 1, Foxboro, MA Tickets: $100.00

January - March 2014  

January, February, March 2014 edition. Features Massachusetts Education and Law Award recipient biographies (The Honorable Edward DiGangi,...

January - March 2014  

January, February, March 2014 edition. Features Massachusetts Education and Law Award recipient biographies (The Honorable Edward DiGangi,...