By Emily Drooby
On Columbus Day, Oct. 11, Mass was celebrated inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and outside, Italian-American pride was being celebrated on Fifth Ave.
“It’s a special day,” explained Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn. “It’s Columbus Day, a day where we remember the exploits of a great explorer and also our Italian heritage at the same time because we are very proud of him. He’s somebody that Italian-Americans can be proud of. He certainly was an Italian.”
Bishop DiMarzio and Cardinal Timothy Dolan from the Archdiocese of New York greeted the participants and parade-goers. It’s a long-standing tradition with this year being the 77th annual parade. The tradition was a welcome sight after it was forced to go virtual last year due to COVID-19.
Italian-Americans and people from all cultures came together to celebrate the day.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan told Currents News, “I mean, he’s the one who brought the faith to the new world. And if the faith can’t bring us together, what can? The faith in the one true God.”
Columbus Day has been at the center of controversy for years. Many refuse to celebrate it and condemn Columbus for crimes against Native Americans. President Joe Biden also proclaimed it was also Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year, a popular replacement holiday for Columbus Day.
Still politicians like Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio also walked the parade route. As Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello explains, the day isn’t just about Columbus, it’s also Italian-American Heritage Month.
“Really, the contributions that Italian-Americans have made to this country,” he said, “and that’s what we celebrate today.”
Many others at the parade also defended the explorer. Amato Berardi of the Parliament of the Republic of Italy said that it’s not right what they’re doing against Columbus.
“Columbus was a history man, was a discoverer,” Amato said, “and we are very proud to celebrate Christopher Columbus, not only today, but for many years to come.”