By Tim Harfmann
As the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Columbus Day parade float, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini made her way up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Surrounding the five-foot statue of Mother Cabrini were students from Catholic academies across Brooklyn and Queens.
“I think it’s interesting and I think it’s really fun,” said student Izabella Sepulveda, for whom riding on the float was a first-time experience.
“I feel really happy and excited because it’s my first time being in a parade,” she added.
It’s also the first time the diocese has made Mother Cabrini part of the parade.
John Heyer, director of the diocese’s Annual Catholic Appeal and special assistant to the vicar for development, helped design the 40-foot long float.
“Among the different items is the statue that we used for our Italian Apostolate day of Mother Cabrini, as well as a replica of the Mother Cabrini mural that can be found on Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn,” John said.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio got onboard float outside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, saying that on this Columbus Day, there’s great support for the patroness of immigrants.
“Today we’re rooting for Mother Cabrini to have a statue of her in New York, in a place of honor, because she was one of the courageous women that really built New York City,” Bishop DiMarizo said.
One way Mother Cabrini helped build the Big Apple was through education.
“She worked so hard for Catholic education, which is one of the things that we’re trying to promote here with the float today,” explained John.
The float was co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Diocese and Futures in Education, which awards scholarships to children in need so they too can benefit from a Catholic education.
Catholics like Fran Rutigliano, a parishioner at St. Frances Cabrini Church, walked alongside felt proud to highlight the work of Mother Cabrini.
“We always want a true Italian representing our Columbus Day parade; so she represented the true values of an Italian: giving, loving, affectionate,” said Fran.