Our Lady of the Rosary (exterior), Little Italy, San Diego, California
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Little Italy changed a lot after the freeway was built. People were depressed from seeing more than a third of their friends and families move out against their will. This was probably worse than when the canneries disappeared. The town entered one of its darkest periods.
Thank God, then, for the church.
We already talked about how the country of Italy was originally just a bunch of different nation states brought together under one name. If anything held those different cultures together, it was the Catholic Church. Faith brings people together, right? And that’s exactly what held Little Italy together as well.
An Italian priest, Fr. Sylvester Rabagliati, built Our Lady of the Rosary Church in the 1920s. He went around collecting money from the fishermen, and was able to give them a place of worship.
Years later, when the freeway came, the children and grandchildren of those fishermen had the church to keep them together.
Now, step inside the church to see Little Italy’s sanctuary.
Do you see the two statues that guard the entrance? On the left is St. Peter, a fisherman, and on the right is Christopher Columbus, explorer from Genoa. The two figures allude to the fact that the majority of the immigrants that originally formed Little Italy were fishermen from Genoa.
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