Ragamuffin Parade luncheon raises funds for kiddie march
Preparations are being finalized for the 48th Annual Ragamuffin Parade, an event that features thousands of children wearing homemade costumes marching up Third Avenue in Bay Ridge to the cheers of tens of thousands of spectators lining the streets.
The parade, one of the highlights of the fall season in southwest Brooklyn, will take place on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. The parade starts at 76th Street and ends at 92nd Street. The main sponsors are the Catholic academies of Bay Ridge, including Holy Angels Academy, Saint Anselm Catholic Academy and Saint Patrick Catholic Academy.
On Sept. 21, the organizing committee held a luncheon at the Bay Ridge Manor to raise money for the big march and to officially introduce Grand Marshal the Rev. Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello and Ragamuffin Person of the Year Arlene Rutuelo. Gigantiello and Rutuelo will march at the head of the parade on Saturday.
Colleen Golden, president of the Ragamuffin Parade Committee, paid tribute to both at the packed luncheon.
She described Gigantiello, the vicar of development for the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, as a man “who never does anything halfway” and as someone who “always goes the extra mile.”
Gigantiello, who was ordained into the priesthood in 1995, served at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Bay Ridge as his first assignment. Even though he left St. Patrick and went on to serve as a pastor at other parishes, he told the luncheon attendees, “Bay Ridge will always be my home.” He is currently the pastor of St. Bernard Church in Mill Basin.
Among his other roles, Gigantiello serves as director of the Office of Parish Giving, oversees the Futures in Education Foundation for the diocese, is the executive director of the diocese’s Annual Catholic Appeal and oversees the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens.
Golden described Rutuelo as a multi-tasker who serves the community, her family and her church with enthusiasm. “I don’t know how she finds the time to cook for her store,” Golden said.
Rutuelo is the owner of Nordic Delicacies, a store on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge that sells homemade Norwegian-inspired dishes and other goods. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the First Evangelical Free Church, is vice chair of the executive board of the Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center in Dyker Heights and is co-chair of the Miss Norway of Greater New York contest.
Rutuelo was recently elected to serve as president of the Guild for Exceptional Children and is a member of the Merchants of Third Avenue and the 68th Precinct Community Council.
“My core, my heart, is to serve,” Rutuelo said. “It may not be politically correct to say it, but I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I do what I do because of him,” she said.
For more information on the parade, visit the committee’s website at http://ragamuffinparadeny.com/event/ragamuffinparade.
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