Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio blessed a statue of the Virgin Mary that was installed June 22 outside the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Chancery building in Park Slope. Dozens of diocesan employees and three auxiliary bishops were present for the ceremony that followed a noontime Mass.
“The patroness of the diocese is the Immaculate Conception so it is fitting to have the statue (of Mary) outside the Chancery,” Bishop DiMarzio said after the blessing.
The statue depicts the Virgin Mary carrying the child Jesus. Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello explained that the statue’s original home was the old St. Ignatius Church on Carroll Street, now part of St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise parish in Crown Heights. After the worship site celebrated its final Mass in 2012, the image of Mary was kept in the diocesan warehouse where unused religious items are stored.
Msgr. John Bracken, director of the diocesan Office of Patrimony, asked if the statue of the Blessed Mother could be placed at the Chancery. Soon after the bishop approved the idea, preparations were made so the statue of Mary could be installed in its new home.
“The patroness of the diocese is watching over the Chancery,” Msgr. Gigantiello said. “She watches over us.”
Msgr. Gigantiello added that Joe Macaluso, a lifelong Catholic whose contracting company has previously worked with the diocese, helped to install the statue.
“We worked on the pedestal so people could see it,” Macaluso said. “It was a beautiful opportunity to help in any way I can.”
During the blessing, Bishop DiMarzio said that this statue was a “reminder of God’s love for us through Mary.” He likened having the statue depicting Mary nearby to “like having your mother’s picture in your wallet.”
The statue felt like a gift for Chancery employees. Sister Maryann Seton Lopiccolo, S.C., the episcopal delegate for religious, said that it shows Mary as mother was a source of comfort, strength and encouragement. She added that the statue’s place outside also reminds people that the diocese is present in the community.
“It is nice to have our Mother here. It also tells people that we are here. Besides having the building, we have the religious symbol to the outside world,” she said.
Bishop DiMarzio added that the statue is a reminder that Mary is “our heavenly mother and the mother of all humanity” and that the Church is indeed a mother to all.
“You always go to your mother. No matter how old you are,” the bishop said. “She is source of counsel and wisdom. You go to her with your troubles and joys.”