Italian-Americans hailing from the town of Mola di Bari in Italy honored their patron saint — a little lady named the Blessed Virgin Mary — with an elaborate parade in Carroll Gardens with celebrants carrying her statue, with a knife through her heart, above the crowd.
The hoisting of the statue is an integral part of the annual solemn procession of Our Lady of Sorrows, or the Congrega Maria S.S. Addolorata, hosted by Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Church to commemorate the agony of Mary, who, the faithful believe, looks over the small coastal town in the southern region of Apulia.
The event was timed to the 10th anniversary of 9-11 — a coincidence not lost on some attendees.
“It’s appropriate that we commemorate the sorrow a mother feels when her son is taken violently from her, as the entire city suffers the same loss from the tragic events of 9-11,” said organizer John Heyer.
Parishioners and other community residents strode alongside the Molesi, chanting songs and prayers, and following helmsmen in traditional costume who carried an image of the Blessed Mother through the streets. They stopped outside the 76th Precinct stationhouse on Union Street to sing the American National Anthem before returning to the house of worship for a mass in Italian and fireworks.