Brooklyn Italians celebrate feast of Our Lady of Sorrows with traditional street procession

September 10, 2013 Heather Chin
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Tradition, faith, and community were on display on Sunday, September 8, during the Our Lady of Sorrows Procession from Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Church through Carroll Gardens. Hundreds of parishioners, family and friends gathered for the Procession and Mass in honor of the feast of the Mola Di Bari’s hometown patron saint, who is held aloft as a model of stoic strength amidst grief.

“The image of the Blessed Mother under the title of, Our Lady of Sorrow is an example to us all of the pain and suffering felt when we loose someone we love in a sudden and violent way,” said John Heyer II, pastoral associate at Sacred Hearts. “She shows us that it is appropriate to mourn while at the same time never losing our faith, an important lesson to remember leading into the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.”

As Brooklyn’s first Italian Roman Catholic parish, Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Church serves as a touchstone for residents who remember the neighborhood’s history as stronghold of Italian culture and life.

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The procession was part of the Congrega Maria S.S. Addolorata and welcomed the people of Mola Di Bari to the celebration of “a community of changing identity from its historic days as an Italian stronghold.”

This year marked the 65th annual procession and concluded with a fireworks display and Mass celebrated by Rev. Msgr. Steven Aguggia, director of the National Italian Apostolate Conference for the US Bishops, Rev. Msgr. Guy Massie, Pastor of Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Church and Fr. Patrick Keating, Associate Vicar for Human Services.

The statue of Our Lady or Sorrows was carried from the church at 3pm and brought through the streets upon the shoulders of the faithful. Accompanied by men and women devoted to Our Lady, the procession traveled throughout the neighborhood stopping for food and drink. The procession returned to Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Church for a Mass in Italian.

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The Ave Maria is sung before the Image of Mary upon returning to Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen Church.
The procession is lead by Monsignor Steven Aguggia up Union Street in Carroll Gardens.

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