JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — In sweltering heat, dozens of men hoisting statues of three catholic saints ran through the streets of Jessup late Saturday afternoon. The two mile Race of the Saints is a St. Ubaldo Day ritual comprised of three teams. The St. Ubaldo team is dressed in gold, the St. George team in blue and the St. Anthony team in black. Jessup native Jack Dabney used to run for Team St. Ubaldo.
“There is some competition between the three saints, between the three teams however in the end it’s a religious holiday and all three come together and that’s what we celebrate.”
What is also celebrated in this tight-knit community is family. “I’ve been here every year since I was probably born. So it’s just a really great thing. My family is super into it and we have a lot of fun here,” said Anna McElroy of Jessup. Her family hosted a big party. She invited some of her curious college friends who aren’t familiar with St. Ubaldo Day. “They came all the way here because I told them about it and they were like what the heck is that?” Team St. Anthony bowed at the home of that party and prayed. It’s a tribute to Ms. McElroy’s late grandfather who once lived there and helped re-start St. Ubaldo Day in Jessup in 1976 after a nearly quarter-century absence.
Family reunions and all sorts of celebrations are so central to St. Ubaldo Day — a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Team St. Anthony Runner Chris Nicastro of Mount Cobb said, “You have to make sure that the traditions are continued and will be carried on just like the saints that get to be carried on year after year and hopefully for many years to come.”
In keeping with tradition, team St. Ubaldo won the race as predetermined. St. Ubaldo Day is celebrated in only one other place in the world: Gubio, Italy.