WILLIAMSBURG — On Saturday, Nov. 4, Bishop Robert Brennan presided over a Mass of Reparation at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, after the desecration of the church during the filming of a music video.
Pop musician Sabrina Carpenter released a music video to her song “Feather” on Oct. 31, which includes scenes of the singer dancing and performing, sometimes provocatively, inside and outside the Brooklyn church, including in the sanctuary where the altar is located.
In the video, the sanctuary is also decorated with props, including different colored coffins scrawled with profane language, as well as candles, crosses, and a glass jug filled with a blood-colored liquid that bore the letters “RIP” on the front.
Bishop Brennan, aided by Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi, vicar general for the diocese, restored the sanctity of the church and repaired the harm during the Mass of Reparation.
In the wake of the church having been used for the music video, Bishop Brennan on Nov. 3 removed Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, the church’s pastor, as the Diocese of Brooklyn’s vicar for development.
Last week, Bishop Brennan was said to be “appalled” by what was filmed.
“Bishop Robert Brennan strongly condemns the filming of the music video inside Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church,” a Nov. 3 diocesan statement read. “A review of the documents presented to the parish prior to the filming, while failing to depict the entirety of the scenes, clearly portrays inappropriate behavior unsuitable for a church sanctuary.”
In a letter to parishioners, which was read during 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Nov. 4, Msgr. Gigantiello said, “I offer my sincere apologies to our faithful parishioners for this shameful representation, which I whole-heartedly renounce. I ask that following the very example of Christ’s forgiveness, you find it possible to forgive my oversight in this unfortunate matter.
“All I ask of you is your forgiveness and prayers and that you be at my side, as I have been for you for the last 29 years of my priesthood. After much prayer and reflection over the last few days, I have come to the realization that this may be God’s way of calling me to reflect on my great number of responsibilities in order to discern his will,” Msgr. Gigantiello concluded.
Msgr. Gigantiello will remain pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish. However, Bishop Robert Brennan has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski as the temporary administrator.
“An administrative review will immediately commence and during this time, Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello’s status as pastor will continue with all administrative oversight delegated to Bishop Mroziewski,” the statement added.
John Notaro, executive director of the Catholic Foundation of Brooklyn and Queens and Futures in Education, has taken over administrative responsibilities of both organizations from Msgr. Gigantiello, according to the diocese.
Msgr. Gigantiello has been a priest in the diocese since 1995, beginning as the parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Parish in Bay Ridge. He has been pastor at Our Lady Mount Carmel-Annunciation since 2017, and he became the diocese’s vicar for development in 2011. He is also a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.
Msgr. Gigantiello added that “$5,000 that the parish received for the filming of the video will be donated to The Bridge to Life, a women’s support group (thebridgetolife.org), so that from this negative event, can come the promotion of life.”