May 5, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Brooklyn’s annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been canceled due to the coronavirus– although an alternative date might be set for later this year.
The Italian-American celebration was scheduled to take place in July but – like so many other parades this year – it has been scrapped due to health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
Organizers are hoping that the Williamsburg event will be rescheduled for later this year and said they would revisit that prospect come fall.
The pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rev. Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, made the announcement Sunday and said that the safety of parishioners and the feast family were their number one priority.
“We are in unprecedented and uncertain times,” he said.
It marks the first time in over 75 years that the event has been canceled.
The festival dates back to 1903 when Italian immigrants first brought the tradition to the neighborhood. The event honors both San Paolino, a priest who lived roughly 1,600 years ago in Nola, Italy–and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The parade is perhaps best known for the hoisting and parading of a 65-foot, 4-ton structure called the Giglio through neighborhood streets.
The cancellation of the festival also means the parish will lose its main source of income and Gigantiello made an appeal for donations
“Cancellation of the feast is a financial burden we cannot stand to bear,” he said.
Gigantiello remained upbeat however and assured followers that the next gathering will be one to remember.
“The next time we lift the Giglio, it will touch the sky higher than it ever has before,” he said.