UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The tents are up, the peppers are cut and everything else is in place for the biggest weekend of the year at St. Anthony/St. Agnes Catholic Church in Utica.
The annual Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damien draws people from all over the northeast and Canada.
Event Chairman Bill Dischiavo says more than 100 buses filled with Canadian catholics of Italian decent will pull onto St. Anthony St. in Utica over these next three days.
Parish Pastor Mark Kaminski says this is a pilgrimage for so many. He says people come here to pray to Sts. Cosmas and Damien for healing.
The two saints were twin brothers who were both doctors in Syria in the 3rd century, known for healing the sick.
Father Kaminski says the tradition of paying homage to the two saints goes back centuries in Italy, "For ages really people have been flocking and venerating these saints, asking for the gift of healing, the gift of reconciliation, peace. And then with the influx of immigrants, people of Italian heritage when they started coming to these shores, they started flocking to Utica more than 100 years ago."
Ten masses will be held over the three day celebration which also includes many traditional Italian foods and italian music.