If you drive around the little town of Jessup, Pennsylvania, sometime near Memorial Day, you’ll see a strange sight.
Colorful flags will be hanging outside the houses of the town. Some are yellow, some blue, some black. They’re like flags for sports teams, except you see no logos for the Steelers or the Phillies.
What’s happening here? If you drop by on the Saturday before Memorial Day, you’ll find out.
Every year on that day, Jessup holds the “Running of the Saints,” a tradition brought there in 1909 by Italian immigrants from its sister city: Gubbio, Italy. There, the event is called La Corsa Dei Ceri and takes place on May 15th, the eve of the feast day of their patron, St. Ubaldo.
In both places the principle is the same: the men of the town, divided into three teams, race through the streets carrying a statue of a saint on their shoulders. One team, dressed in yellow, represents St. Ubaldo; another, dressed in blue, St. George; another, dressed in black, St. Anthony the Abbot. In Gubbio, these were the patrons of the various worker guilds—the stonemasons (St. Ubaldo), the merchants (St. George), and the farmers (St. Anthony).
The flags outside the houses in Jessup make sense now, eh? The families are cheering for “their” saint! It’s not a competition, though—St. Ubaldo always wins, since it’s his feast day!
Even if you can’t make it to Gubbio, Jessup would be happy to have you. It welcomes visitors every year for its famous Running. It’s a marvelous tradition, an abiding testament to the ancient faith of those who planted their dreams in a little Pennsylvania town all those years ago.
Whatever race you happen to find yourself in—whether it be the Running of the Saints or just the rat race of life—be sure to take along our Personalized “They Will Run” Vacuum Water Bottle. Inscribed with the inspiring quote from Isaiah, “They Will Run and Not Grow Weary,” this bottle is sure to provide a boost of physical—and spiritual!—hydration to your day. Personalized initials included. Great gift for Confirmation or Father’s Day! Order yours today at The Catholic Company!