The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

In Pictures: The Procession of St. Rocco di Simbario

By Chuck Sudo in Miscellaneous on Aug 18, 2008 3:10PM

Yesterday, hundreds lined the streets of Chinatown and Bridgeport for the 88th procession of the Order of St. Rocco di Simbario. The order, founded in the late 1920s by Bruno Bertucci, was named in honor of St. Rocco, the Catholic Patron Saint of Pestilence.

We were shocked the first time we saw the procession in all its pomp nine years ago. The procession winds through the neighborhood, led by enough fireworks to make Venetian Night seem like a lazy night in the alley with some bottle rockets. Other local Catholic churches are represented in the procession. A marching band follows the officers of the Order, carrying a statue of Rocco draped in a cape of dollar bills, stopping to take donations in honor of the recently separated or currently ill. We watched and joked about how the Outfit might've started the order. "Now you're gonna be a saint. St. Rocco. And it ain't blasphemy, 'cause it's the Lord's work."

Little did we know that, over the years, members of the Order were allegedly tied to organized crime and have taken umbrage whenever stories on the Order focused on that instead of its charitable deeds. Regardless of what these men do away from the order, the procession is quite a sight to behold.

(All photos by Chuck Sudo).