Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 18 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Maria Anna Blondin

Remembering “Big Ang” at a Funeral Mass in Brooklyn

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/24/16

The New York Times reports on the final farewell to Angela Raiola, niece of Salvatore Lombardi and a larger-than-life star of VH1’s reality series “Mob Wives.” She died last week at 55, from cancer. And she got quite a sendoff:

In death, as in life, Ms. Raiola commanded a crowd. Hundreds attended her funeral Mass in the Renaissance Revival sanctuary of the Basilica of Regina Pacis, even two “Mob Wives” co-stars who, by some accounts, had been warned that they were not welcome. The Daily News said Karen Gravano and Brittany Fogarty had been told it was “not a good idea” to attend the wake, held on Sunday, or the funeral. In the sanctuary, the sacred mingled with the irreverent. Msgr. David L. Cassato, who celebrated the Mass, mostly referred to Ms. Raiola as Big Ang, not Angela. His place on the altar was not far from an enormous bouquet of red roses shaped like a pair of lips, a tribute to Ms. Raiola’s pillowy mouth. Her estranged husband, Neil Murphy, with whom she had a fractious relationship, wore sunglasses, even inside the sanctuary. He took them off from time to time to wipe away tears. “Big Ang was indeed fully human,” Monsignor Cassato said in his homily. “She loved, she laughed, she shared, she cared.” Monsignor Cassato held up a framed photograph of Ms. Raiola that he said he kept on his desk. “Every time I look at it,” he said, “it brings back a beautiful memory of my friendship with Big Ang.” One of those memories concerned a parish bazaar she had attended. Big Ang was helping run the raffle, he said, and approached him with a question that only someone with her background and her temperament would ask a priest: “What’s my percentage?” she asked.

Read it all.

Photo: Dave Sanders / The New York Times

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
4
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
See More