The Feast of Saint Rocco

Meeting Times
Chairmen meet January through September. One meeting with booth chair people
Meeting Location
Rocco barn/chairmen - and in the conference room with booth chair people
Number of Members
Approximately 600 members from parish volunteer during, before, and after the feast.

40th Feast of St. Rocco - August 9 - 13, 2018

Activity Date Time
Rides Open Thursday, August 9 5:00-10:00pm
Food Booths, Rides and Music Friday, August 10 5:00-10:00pm
Anointing Mass Saturday, August 11 10:00am under the tent
Food Booths, Rides and Music Saturday, August 11 11:00am-10:00pm
Closing Mass and Procession of the Statue Sunday, August 12 10:30am
Food Booths, Rides and Music Sunday, August 12 12:00-8:00pm

The 40th annual Feast of St. Rocco will take place from August 5-12. The Opening Mass will be at 10:30am, Sunday, August 5. The Anointing Mass will take place on Saturday, August 11 at 10:00am. The Closing Mass and Procession of the Statue will be on Sunday, August 12 at 10:00am. Food, entertainment and rides will be available August 10-12. Rides and limited food (hamburgers and pizza) will be open August 9.

The festival is a time for families, friends, and neighbors to gather and enjoy good Italian food and entertainment in a total family-friendly atmosphere.

Volunteers Needed

The Committee for the Celebration of Appreciation for all our Rocco Volunteers through the years has been faithfully meeting. We used the forty years of Rocco Booklets as documents to discover and compile the names of volunteers who helped for every single year for the forty years. We sent them a letter to invite them to the October event.

If you know of someone who was missed because their name was inadvertently left out of the Rocco Booklets in one or more of the 40 years, we would ask you to email immediately Paula Coughlin – parishpublishing@stmarysfranklin.org – so we can send them a special letter. Many, many people volunteered 35 or 37 years; there are few folks still with us who actually volunteered all forty years. These folks started at a younger age! Please help us to make sure that we have all the 40 year volunteers.

Adult help needed for tent set-up on Mon Jul 23 at 8:30 am on the festival grounds.

We are looking for volunteers on Thu, Aug 9 to help cut vegetables for the tomato salad.

Please contact Paula Coughlin at the rectory, 508-528-0020.

The Foods of St. Rocco

One of the highlights of the weekend is the wonderful variety of food available on the field. The festival offers everything from eggplant parmesan to Belgian waffles and everything in between.

There are Italian specialties, subs of all kinds, manicotti, chicken parm, antipasto and more, including fresh-squeezed lemonade, fried dough and mozzarella sticks. We also have three varieties of cannoli and many Italian pastries, including lobster tails. Try the personal calzone in the Calzone Booth. Delicious!

For the seafood lovers, we have stuffed quahogs, clam chowder, clam cakes and fried seafood.

For the young and the young at heart we have hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, french fries, onion rings, chicken fingers, chicken wings and locally grown corn on the cob. A sellout every year is Phyllis' homemade Italian Tomato Salad, served plain or over cold pasta. Just right for those warm summer days! You can find it at the Cold Cut Sub booth.

Come visit the Stuffed Clam booth for our famous "Poco Platter" - mozzarella sticks, toasted ravioli and chicken tenders or chicken wings - and our "Rocco Dinner" - chicken tenders or chicken wings, an ear of corn and French fries or onion rings - It's big enough to share! Or try "The Ark" - 2 stuffed clams, 2 chicken wings, 2 chicken tenders, 2 mozzarella sticks, 2 toasted ravioli and 4 mac 'n cheese bites.

Co-chairmen:

  • Peter Brunelli
  • Michael DeGrazia
  • Thomas Olsen
  • Frank Fiorillo

St. Rocco Festival of Food Finale

Times change and traditions evolve.  This year’s annual Feast of St. Rocco, on August 9-12 will mark the 40th and final food festival in Franklin. Driven by the energy and passion of long-time committee members, and executed with the strength of 300 volunteers, this festival finale will be one to remember! This year’s celebration will feature more than a dozen food booths offering everything from fried clams, calzones and sausages to authentic Italian pastries and fried dough. Entertainment throughout the weekend will include live bands, DJs, raffles, and amusement rides. Commemorative T-shirts and aprons will be on sale. Raffles for cash prizes and homemade items will be available all weekend. 

Throughout the years, the festival has adapted to the changing lifestyle of the community. In the early days all food was donated and prepared in the kitchens of the parish faithful. For a time, food was prepared in the kitchen of what was then the St. Mary’s School. Today, the food is prepared under the tents where it is served, under strict board of health guidelines. The one constant for 40 years has been the enthusiastic volunteers who prepare and serve the food throughout the weekend.

Entertainment has changed over the years as well. Music has always been part of the celebration and the early days featured several stages with multiple bands and dancing. A pie eating competition and chocolate chip cookie contest are some of the past events. And the young and young-at-heart have enjoyed old fashioned midway games, carnival rides, cotton candy and laughter galore throughout the years!

Weather has been noteworthy over time. The festival has been held in scorching heat and throughout thunderstorm-ridden weekends, but the spirit of the festival has always endured.

Rocco through the years

The Feast of St. Rocco Festival began in 1978 as the brainchild of Father Michael Guarino. He sought to create a religious, social and cultural event in Franklin that followed the format of traditional Italian festivals. On a visit to what were once the grounds of the St. Mary School convent, Fr. Guarino found a statue of St. Rocco and his idea found a saint to celebrate in such a festival.  St Rocco, the patron saint of healing, was born in the 13th century to a wealth family in France but gave away his inheritance and set out as a pilgrim who ministered to the sick, especially those suffering from plague. Having healed many people through intercessory prayer without contracting the disease itself, he finally succumbed to illness and in his great suffering, went away to a small hut the woods, so as not to be a burden on others. He was ministered to be a dog who brought him bread daily, and a spring miraculously appeared near the hut providing him with water.

Ironically, with the feast focused on healing, accessibility is a major challenge for many parishioners. Change is taking place not only with the evolution of the festival, but also within the physical building of our church itself. During the Festival Finale, construction will be in full swing for an addition to the church that will include an accessible entrance, indoor elevator, restrooms on both levels and a food service area. This addition to the church will also feature a permanent location for the statue of St. Rocco to reside, where people can visit with the saint and pray year-round in good weather and bad.

Since its inception, the festival has always included three separate Masses. Kicking off the week of the feast is the Opening Mass at 10:30 on Sunday, August 5 at the church. This Mass is celebrated for the deceased friends and family listed in the St. Rocco program book.  At this Mass, rolls that have been blessed are given out to all who attend, just as St. Rocco’s faithful dog brought him bread when he was sick, that helped him survive.

The following week on Saturday, August 11, an Anointing Mass will be held at 10:00 under the tent on the Festival Grounds behind the school across from the church. According to Paula Coughlin, long-time volunteer and Parish Administrative Assistant, “This always attracts a large, reverent crowd. There is something moving about seeing all these people attend Mass and receive an anointing for healing, even as the booth volunteers are readying their booths to serve the people coming for lunch.”

This year, the 40th and final Closing Mass for the Feast of St Rocco will be held on Sunday, August 12 at 10:30 at the church. Following Mass, a procession will carry the statue of St. Rocco from the church to the field.

As the food and festival portion of this feast comes to an end, we can look forward to new traditions and ways to celebrate our faith, family and friends. Fr. Brian Manning, pastor of St. Mary’s explains it this way: “As we conclude the Festival of Food portion of the Feast of Saint Rocco this year, we will continue to honor in new ways the vision of faith that Fr. Michael and his many lay volunteers shared with all of us then and through all the years.” With changes to the church, the statue of St Rocco will be permanently housed in the addition where people can pray at any time. And while our faith and town community may not see the food booths and rides on the fairgrounds next year, new traditions will bloom that are compatible with today’s lifestyle and culture.

Don’t miss this historic event. Come for the rides, Come for the people. Come for the healing. Just come… be a part of the St. Rocco Festival Food Finale.