Madonna del Soccorso is located in Sciacca’s cathedral (Agrigento); she is the patron saint and she is celebrated on February 2 and August 15. During the festivities in via Licata you can see the traditional ritual of "Fumata", a cloud of incense that spreads in the air, recalling the miracle of deliverance from the plague in 1626.
The miracle of the plague’s end is attributed to the patron saint. In fact, during the procession, on 2 February 1626 in Via Licata, a lightning appeared through the clear an
d cloudless sky, and suddenly a cloud of smoke raised from the base of the statue.
In that moment all the citizens were healed
from the plague. Since then, in memory of that wonder, every year on the 1st of February , the citizens renew the vow, declared that day, to make the pilgrimage, and the next day they carry in procession the marble statue of the Madonna adorned with gold jewelry, silver and coral donated by devotees. A hundred sailors, barefoot, carry on their shoulders the heavy statue. The procession ends with Holy Mass in the basilica and it is repeated on the 15th of August.
The day before the anniversary the devotees use to do a penance, fasting and doing a barefoot procession. The next day, however, a procession goes up to the place of the miracle, where incense is burned. During the festival the statue, is carried in procession through the town centre, from the cathedral to “Porta Palermo”.
Celebrations of August
The last Saturday of July at eight o'clock in the Mother Church, the statue is located, by the sailors, in the presbytery. With this gesture of affection for the Mother of God, Sciacca’s believers will start the festivities in honor of their patron saint. On August 1, the procession’s preparation begins, with celebrations and with various initiatives of evangelization and devotion that will reach its climax on August 15.