NYC’s Feast of San Gennaro Kicks off With Msgr. David Cassato Blessing the Booths

Tags: Currents Faith, Inspiration, Msgr. David Cassato, San Gennaro

By Emily Drooby

It’s back! The streets of Little Italy in Manhattan were packed as Msgr. David Cassato, NYPD deputy chief chaplain blessed the booths for the 95th annual Feast of San Gennaro.

The celebration the life of the Italian Bishop, who was martyred in 305 AD was started by Italian immigrants back in the 1920’s. Now, in its 95 years, the feast has become a staple.

This year they’re honoring 9/11 first responders.

“We’re back and we are trying to get back to normalcy,” Msgr. Cassato explained. “And we are very happy to be here tonight to celebrate our Christian faith, to celebrate San Gennaro and the heritage of the Italian immigrant here to America.”

John Fratta’s family has helped plan the feast for generations. He says on average they see a million people –  this year is no exception.

“This is the largest Italian feast in the country,” said John, adding, “I mean, today for the first day is jammed, and we never had this kind of crowd on the first day.”

The crowds are a welcome sight for businesses who had to do without the extra boost last year because of the pandemic. The feast was cancelled for safety.

“It’s just fantastic for us,” said Joseph Guariglia, who works for Il Cortile Ristorante. He added, “Not having that really took a lot out of us and really took a lot out of the city.”

Joseph estimates most shops and stands make about 20 to 30 percent of their annual revenue during the 11-day feast.