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Exclusive photos: The celebration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Brooklyn


Jeffrey Bruno

Jeffrey Bruno - published on 07/19/20 - updated on 07/18/20

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the iconic New York festa was cancelled. But the faithful still managed to pay their respects to their patroness.

For the first time since 1945, the festival was canceled. No carnival. No Giglio lift. No zeppoles … But that didn’t stop Brooklyn’s faithful from celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, their beloved patroness.

For the past 133 years, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has been one of the grandest Italian-Catholic feasts in New York City. Each year it attracts tens of thousands to the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to join in the week-long celebration. This year, of course, was a bit of an exception, in terms of attendees. 

The “Festa” would typically include attractions for all ages. Street singers, games, and the massive “Giglio lift,” in which a 75-foot tall, four-ton tower is carried and “danced” by over 160 men through the streets of Brooklyn.

But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this iconic New York tradition had to be canceled. However, the faithful prayerfully gathered to honor the Blessed Mother. While there would be no “Festa,” they would celebrate Mass and process through the neighborhood.

Bishop Dimarzio’s homily focused on the importance of the true worship of God, devotion to Our Lady, and the significance of the scapular. “St. Simon Stock had received from Mary this apparition. She promised to care for those who would honor her with their prayer and do penance and wear the brown scapular, which imitates a monks habit … It reminds us of the particular attachment we have to prayer in our lives … It’s not a charm … It’s a way of life.”

The faithful gathered around the life-size statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel mounted on a trailer. They processed, praying the Rosary and distributing scapulars, showing a hurting world what unity might look like. 

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