Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for Sept. 25

October 2, 2014 By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, chef, priest and host of NET-TV’s culinary program “Breaking Bread.”
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Catholic Priest Who Trained as a Chef Hosts 5th Season of “Breaking Bread’ Show

Msgr. Jamie also runs a Mill Basin parish and Development for Diocese of Brooklyn

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello discovered a creative way of blending his vocations of chef and Catholic priest. He does so, joyfully, through teaching and hosting “Breaking Bread,” a weekly program on Catholic NET-TV that celebrates Brooklyn’s richly ethnic neighborhoods. Msgr. Jamie, as he is popularly known, also utilizes his talents, skills and experience in culinary and hotel management. He serves as Administrator of St. Bernard Parish, Mill Basin and as the Vicar for Development for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Always actively involved in the church, Msgr. Jamie served as a lector, Eucharistic minister of Communion and retreat team leader starting during his school. But it would be a while before the priesthood became his primary vocation in life. But he did trust the wisdom of God’s timing.

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He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, worked at the Carlisle and Intercontinental hotels for several years, and even a stint at Gracie Mansion during Mayor Edward Koch’s administration, where he worked with the chef on special events. And during this time, he earned his bachelor degree in business administration from Baruch College.

While working long hours and weeks in the restaurant and hotel industry as a chef and later as restaurant manager, maître d’ room services and events manager, Gigantiello still felt a pull towards the priesthood. As he discerned the possibility of working in a hospital or nursing home where his pastoral gifts could develop, he learned something about a vocational high school—Erasmus Hall in Flatbush— that had a cooking program; and they had hotel management and cooking. “We actually had a restaurant right in the school! There was a small restaurant in the school where the students prepared for the teachers three days a week, and the teachers could come in to have lunch, three days a week.” In addition to teaching, Msgr. Jamie was involved with the school’s bicentennial anniversary.
“All during that time, I was always still involved and very active in my church, and something was always calling me to be involved,” recalls Msgr. Jamie. “When I turned 30—a turning point in my life—I felt that the Lord was still calling me to serve as a priest. I entered the seminary, and I became a priest at 35. I have to say that I don’t regret waiting because, working in the world, living in the world, traveling, being responsible financially for myself and my family, I felt that all helped me to become a better priest. Because, I’m able to relate to people in a better 
way. I can relate to what they’re going through. I feel that it has helped me tremendously be a better priest.”

His experience and skills also plays into his role as a strategic planner and fundraiser. As vicar of Development, Msgr. Jamie oversees the fundraising for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Moreover, he runs the Annual Catholic Appeal and Futures in Education Programs, each of which annually bring in about $10 million respectively.

But Msgr. Jamie’s passion for cooking and creativity still burn. And “Breaking Bread,” which airs on Wednesday nights, is now in its fifth season, has been expanded from its original format. They just finished filming the first ten episodes.
“We visit not only the parishes but we also visit the neighborhood. We talk a little bit about the neighborhood. We went to Coney Island, Park Slope, South Brooklyn, Williamsburg—different neighborhoods that are changing. And we visit a restaurant, and interview the owner and the chef. At the end of every show, I do a cooking segment, and then I give a spiritual reflection at the end about the day and the episode.” The first two episodes covered Grimaldi’s in Coney Island, a children’s youth ministry program visit to Coney Island, grilling at Msgr. Jamie’s church, St. Bernard’s in Mill Basin. Upcoming episodes cover excursions to Park Slope, with a stop at an ice cream parlor; a Greek restaurant in Sheepshead Bay; we visited Regina Pacis parish and Mama Rao’s nearby (at 11th Avenue and 64th St.). And, in Downtown Brooklyn: Our Lady of Lebanon Church and Damascus Bakery. “Breaking Bread” also covered locations in Queens County: the Zum Stammtisch restaurant in Glendale, a German neighborhood—Middle Village, and a Korean church and restaurant in Flushing. And he has a Thanksgiving segment. “The show helps me cook,” Msgr. Jamie told the Brooklyn Eagle. “And now I’m planning to do some cooking classes with the children in my school. Not only are adults still interested in cooking, but now children are now becoming interested in cooking. You see them on different television shows. So, I’m going to offer a cooking club for the school, for kids who have some interest in cooking, some classes in the rectory for the school children.”

Because of safety concerns involving sharp utensils and stoves, theses classes will be mostly demonstration, and baking. And teachers from the parish school will be present. We’ll make some breakfast items. It’s always nice for children to be able to make breakfast for their parents.”

Msgr. Jamie’s culinary joys include making Italian food, grilling, marinating and a skill that comes in very handy: “I’m very good with using leftovers to create new dishes. I can open up the refrigerator, see what’s there and create a dish.”

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Brooklyn Composer Eugene Marlow Premieres Work as Part of ‘Score the Fountain’ Contest

Upcoming CD Album and Concert Showcase Fusion of Hebrew and Latin Jazz Styles

Prolific Brooklyn composer Eugene Marlow has built yet another bridge to different ethnic traditions. His band, The Heritage Ensemble, includes members of German, Lebanese, and Puerto Rican backgrounds. And one of his passions is arranging various Hebrew melodies into jazz works. Recently, Marlow was selected as one of nine winners in the Brooklyn Museum’s “Score the Fountain” musical competition.

The Brooklyn Museum’s outdoor Jane and David Walentas Fountain, in front of the building on Eastern Parkway, features choreographed dancing waters. The Museum invited musicians and producers of all genres to create an original score inspired by the dancing fountain, and received a great response. The nine winning “Score the Fountain” compositions were premiered in mid-August.
“They needed a piece of music for exactly five minutes and forty seconds, and I was ten seconds short,” recalls Marlow. I happened to be working with the audio editor on two albums, and what I decided to do is to break up those 10 seconds into about two or three seconds each. I put in the sounds of the water fountains at the beginning of the piece of music, then after the first piece of music, then the second, and then at the very end. At a public performance, it sounds like the fountain, and the sound effect is really tremendous.” The result was a winning piece called “The Dancing Waters.”

“Most of the composers whose pieces were selected were present. I decided on a classical piece. The variety of styles (for the other pieces) included jazz, world music, rock, r&b. There was one piece that was very symphonic/21st century. I had a good time. As I was talking with person in charge of the event, someone came up to her and asked, ‘Where can I buy the CD?’ They could take the whole thing and put it on a CD, and someone was willing to put money in the palm of their hand right then and there to do it,” said Marlow on the success of the competition.

The other winning composers were: Collin Simon, Keith Reynolds, Timothy Cramer and Michael Gentile, Jessica DiMari, Sevarg300 Kavin Graves, Lafayette Harris Jr., Ryan Schumann and Stephen Taylor.

Eugene Marlow and The Heritage Ensemble have also produced several albums that marry Hebrew melodies with jazz improv—including “A Fresh Take” and “Celebrations,” which “interprets festive melodies” of Chanukah, Purim and some of the Jewish liturgies. Later this fall, they will release a new compact disc, “Mosaica: Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble Reimagines Popular Hebraic Melodies.” The special guest vocalist, Shira Lissek, is no stranger to Brooklyn Heights, as she is a past cantor at Congregation Mount Sinai. Shira, whose name means “song” in Hebrew, brings a background in opera, musical theater, Klezmer and jazz.

“Mosaica” is scheduled to be released on November 1, which is also the date of The Heritage Ensemble’s popular annual concert at the Brooklyn Heights Library.
The Heritage Ensemble blends Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, Jazz, & Judaic musical styles in “We’ve Got Rhythms” — an audience interactive concert of their unique brand of world music

and infectious danceable rhythms. This ensemble of first-rate musicians includes band-leader Marlow on keyboard, multi-Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria, the expressively melodic saxophonist Michael Hashim, virtuoso bassist Frank Wagner and two percussionists, Matthew Gonzalez and Oba Allende.

This “We’ve Got Rhythms” program will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, at the Brooklyn Heights Library’s auditorium, 280 Cadman Plaza West.

[Editor’s Note: The Brooklyn Eagle broke a news story last week about the sale of the library building to the Hudson Companies for $52 million. As of press time for this column on Sept. 19, the Brooklyn Public Library’s website had posted a Brooklyn Heights Developer Announcement document, which stated that the Uniform Land Use Review Process will begin later this year; and that construction will begin in 2016. A library spokeswoman told Faith in Brooklyn’s editor by phone Thursday, Sept. 18 that, the groundbreaking would not happen until 2016. She said that regular hours and programming will return uninterrupted to the Brooklyn Heights branch starting Wednesday, Oct. 1.)

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Choral Chameleon Presents A Musical ‘Storytime-Part One’

Choral Chameleon presents a one-of-a-kind vocal experience.

Artistic director Vince Peterson leads this unique ensemble of the city’s most versatile and adventurous professional singers. Together, they draw inspiration from New York’s world- class classical and jazz scenes, Broadway, street music, and new arrivals from every continent

St. Paul’s Church-Carroll Gardens and Choral Chameleon present Storytime—Part One. Watch and listen as favorite voices of Choral Chameleon transform into characters and tell the audience about Alice and the evil Dutchess, Old Father William, the whiting and the snail, four and twenty blackbirds in a pie, the boy who picked up his feet to fly, the medical student/serial killer, and the story the gospel writers didn’t want anyone to know about the young Christ who raised a girl from the dead in the temple. They will also present plus the glorious renaissance ensalada “El Fuego” of Mateo Fletxa el Viejo. As if these weren’t enough, how about a heart- warming tale with a chair gripping cliff-hanger to hold everyone in suspense all the way until Storytime: Part Two?!This concert kicks off the group’s seventh season on Sept. 20, and this program repeats on Friday September 26 at 8 p.m.

Admission is $15 for general admission, $10 for students with valid school ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door of St. Paul’s on the night of the performance. St. Paul’s Church is located at 198 Carroll St.

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‘Arranged,’ with Brooklyn as Setting

Jewish lives and history in film is the theme of an afternoon film festival at Congregation Mount Sinai, on the third Wednesday of each month, over the coming program year.

“American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco,” will be shown on October 15. Subsequent upcoming films include “Fill the Void,” (November 19) about a young Hasidic woman being pressured into an arranged marriage to an older widower; and the widely- acclaimed “Arranged,” on December 17. “Arranged” unfolds the poignant story of two new teachers, one an Orthodox Jew and one a Muslim, who defy expectations of friction and find that they have a shared expectation of arranged marriage in contemporary Brooklyn.

The January 21 film will be “Expulsion and Memory,” which traces the modern descendants of Spanish Jews who, in 1492, had to flee, convert, and/or practice Judaism in secret. “Old Jews Telling Jokes” will be shown on February 18. “Forever Activists,” stories from the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought against Franco and the Spanish Fascists in 1936, will be shown on March 18. “The David Susskind Show: How to be a Jewish Son,” with Mel Brooks, George Segal, David Steinberg and others, is the April 15 feature— perhaps a reward to the viewer for filing one’s taxes in time. The concluding film, on May 20, will be: “Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women: Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein.”
Each film begins at 3:30 p.m. on the third Wednesdays, at Congregation Mount Sinai 250 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights/Downtown Brooklyn.
3:30 P.M. on the

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‘America’s Tenor’ Performs Here As Part of Concert Series

Trinity Lutheran Church’s Monthly Classical Concert Series features “America’s Tenor, Daniel Rodriguez in a program of opera and Broadway. Joining him is soprano Maryann Mootos.

They perform at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 27.

Daniel Rodgriguez is known to many as “the singing policeman.” He’s the New York City cop who helped bring the country an uplifting spirit of promise and hope, in the aftermath of September 11th terrorist attacks, with his stirring rendition of “God Bless America.” He quickly earned the moniker, “America’s Beloved Tenor.

Mr. Rodriguez and soprano, Maryann Mootos will present an evening of opera arias and duets from the works of Giacomo Puccini, as well as operetta and music selections from the Broadway stage.

Admission $20 at the door and seating is on a first-come-first-serve basis. A small reception will follow the performance. Readers can learn more by visiting La Forza dell’Opera at or at Trinity’s web site at

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Popular Italian Religious Procession Winds Its Way Around Carroll Gardens

Local Merchants Offer Hospitality to Participants

Members of the Congrega Maria SS Addolorata (Mother of Sorrows) of Sacred Heart-St. Stephen’s Church carry the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows around Carroll Gardens in their annual procession, which took place on Sunday, September 14 in the streets of Carroll Gardens. This procession, held each September, honors both St. Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Italian Brooklynites with ancestry in Mola, in southern Italy. The procession stretched from Hicks and Summit Street, all the way to Smith St and 3rd Place. Knight of Columbus John Bittalco, and Msgr. Guy Massie, and Fr. Cletus Forson, parochial vicar, march in front of the statue of the hometown patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows, of the people of Mola in Bari, southern Italy. According to the parish’s website, “The congregation of Maria SS Addolorata was established in 1948 in Brooklyn, New York, by the Italian immigrants from the town of Mola in Bari, Italy. Longing to continue the traditions of their faith and culture the congregation was formed in their new neighborhood of South Brooklyn at the Parish of Sacred Hearts – St. Stephen. At that time a replica of the statue of their hometown patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows, was commissioned and shipped by boat across the Atlantic from Mola to Brooklyn. Since that time the statue has been the inspiration of great devotion and faith. The statue is carried on the shoulders of men twice a year through the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens in South Brooklyn. These occasions are Good Friday and the Feast of Addolorata on the second Sunday in September.”

Each year, a young lady is selected to represent the people of Mola. This year’s Miss Mola was Juliana Nuzzo, a native of Brooklyn whose ancestry hails from Mola.

Along the procession route, several local merchants provided refreshment and a break from the walking: The 76th Police Precinct stationhouse, was the first stop, where the Metropolitan Band played the national anthems of the United States and Italy. Also providing refreshments were Scotto Funeral Home, Frank and Anthony of Frank’s Luncheonette, and Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Cultural and Social Club.

Coordinating the traffic smoothly for the marchers were officers and auxiliary personnel from the 76th, 78th, 66th, 63rd and 69th Police Precincts.

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