For the past two weekends, I have been partying with Italians. Last week, it was the Italian Apostolate’s celebration at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Brooklyn. This past weekend, I hopped on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s float for the annual Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan.
Starting at West 47th St., the diocesan delegation turned onto Fifth Ave. with an eye on St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th St. It was there that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Auxiliary Bishop James Massa and Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello were reviewing the parade along with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and two of his auxiliary bishops, John O’Hara and Dominick Lagonegro.
As we pulled up to New York’s landmark cathedral, Bishops DiMarzio and Massa and Msgr. Gigantiello came aboard and joined us for the mile-and-a-half ride up the avenue – past Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel, Temple Emmanuel, and Central Park until we came to the reviewing stand and TV anchor booth.
WABC-TV was broadcasting the march live. We waved to co-anchors Joe Piscopo and Brooklyn’s own Maria Bartiromo, a graduate of Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge.
Along the route, we supplied diocesan talent: tenors Sal “the Barber” Spatola, crooner Charlie Poveromo, rapper Darius Kaleb, and Lori Goldstein.
Also on board the float were TV actors Anthony Mangano, who hosts NET-TV’s City of Churches, and Mario Bosco, who will be seen in NET’s Christmas special in December.
Staff members of DeSales Media were on hand to distribute Italian flags and toss out T-shirts to the crowds.
Currents reporter Michelle Powers was with us to record the sights and sounds of the day that were shown on NET on Tuesday evening.
“Everybody feels Italian today,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “We honor the Italians of New York. Everyone is in a festive mood.”
The bishop praised the courage and faith of Christopher Columbus. “He was one man with courage and a vision and he found a new continent. Not only that but he opened this continent to evangelization.”
The bishop reminded us all that we also need to have that spirit of courage and adventure in our evangelization efforts today.
“We need to find that spirit of adventure. We have to sacrifice and to reach out to others as we find new ways to better our world.”
The Columbus Day celebration was just the latest event in a busy diocesan social calendar. Having just celebrated the Irish Fair, two Italian festivals, we now look forward to the Diocesan Migration Office’s Shining Stars Dinners which will be held on Oct. 14 and 21, as we honor the leaders of the more than 25 ethnic ministries in Brooklyn and Queens.
The Diocesan Scouting Committee will be honoring some of its leaders at El Caribe on Oct. 19. Futures in Education will be holding its annual Scholarship Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on Oct. 24. Mission Sunday is Oct. 23 and on Saturday, Oct. 29, we conclude a busy month with the diocesan pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.