By Jessica Easthope
Faith and devotion are alive in the Brooklyn Diocese. For the 133rd year, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was processed through the streets of South Williamsburg.
Though her feast day is usually celebrated with the Giglio Festival, the pandemic kept the iconic seven-story statue on the ground this year. But people of the parish and across the diocese still made sure Our Lady of Mount Carmel was honored.
“We weren’t sure this was even a possibility so this is honestly a blessing for all of us to be here with our families and loved ones and take our Mother out into the street,” said John Perrone, a member of the Giglio Feast committee.
This is the first time in decades John hasn’t lifted the Giglio. but he says his faith and gratitude to Our Lady is stronger than ever: it’s reflected in his dedication to the procession.
“To us this is a very important element of it all, the most important,” John said.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said Mass before the historic procession. He says though the pandemic has changed the way we worship, it hasn’t changed why.
“The festivities only point to one thing: we’re happy. We’re happy that this is the annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Heavenly Mother who gives so many graces to the people who honor her. The essential thing is we honor the Mother of God, and that’s what this feast is about,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The annual Giglio Feast helps sustain Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish financially all year. This year, the street in front of the church wasn’t lined with dozens of vendors and people like years past, but Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello said the church found other ways to raise money.
“They’re donating all their proceeds today to the parish, it’s the two staples of the feast, zeppoles and sausage and peppers, they’re making all that donation it will all come back to the church,” said Msgr. Jamie.
Msgr. Jamie says he has no doubt the tradition’s deep roots in the neighborhood and in the lives of those who participate will continue to grow.
“People have such a great devotion and they want to come and honor our Blessed Mother,” he said. “We know next year is going to be a big year.”