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Sons of Italy® Names National Chaplain

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 2, 2006 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's oldest and largest organization for men and women of Italian heritage, has named Father Joseph Capella of New Jersey as the new OSIA National Chaplain. OSIA National President Vincent Sarno has appointed Father Capella who will succeed Fr. Donald Licata who died in March after attending to OSIA's spiritual needs for 15 years.

"I have had the pleasure of having spiritual guidance from Father Capella for the last few years," says National President Sarno. "I know that his insight, wisdom and love of God, combined with the respect of his Italian culture and heritage will make him a great religious counselor for OSIA."

As national chaplain, Fr. Capella will attend OSIA events at the national, state and local levels to offer prayer and counsel. He also will give pastoral assistance to the OSIA leadership and individual members as requested.

Fr. Capella had previously served as OSIA state chaplain of New Jersey, where he attended conventions and other meetings, and performed weddings, baptisms and funerals for members in that state.

"I am always impressed by the level of fraternal love and support shown at such times," says Fr. Capella. "It is a wonderful intentional community that is bound together by the tenets of our Italian heritage. I'm so proud to be a part of it."

Fr. Capella is a long-time member of OSIA, having joined through the National Office when he was a student at Washington Theological Union and Catholic University in Washington, D.C. His family belongs to the Garibaldi Lodge #1658 in Hammonton, N.J. where he was born and raised.

Fr. Capella was ordained in 1990 and is currently attached to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Somerdale, N.J. His family came from Sicily and Calabria in around 1910 and settled in Hammonton.

"I look forward to ministering to OSIA members and their families whenever they may need a spiritual guide or pastoral minister in any way. It is a great honor to be available and at the service to this family of OSIA," says Fr. Capella.

OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization in the U.S. for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. It has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.