Tag Archives: Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello

The meaning of Easter brings families together

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


If you ask Christians what their favorite holiday is, many will quickly answer “Christmas.” People love the lights and trees, the presents and songs, the red poinsettias and gold bows. However, as much as I too love Christmas, Easter is my favorite. Easter Sunday and the week before, which we call Holy, reminds me every year why that baby was born on Christmas day. Jesus was born and lived for a reason, so that he may die and rise for all of us.

Easter is my favorite time of year because we know that the warmth of the spring and summer are approaching and the darkness and cold of winter are behind us. It is a time of change, rebirth, renewal and life. The warm pastel colors of the clothing people wear and flowers that are in bloom give me energy. These signs of life remind me that our God is a living God, who is always there to lift us out of the darkness.

Easter is my favorite also because it is a time for family to come together with no strings attached. There are no pressures to buy the perfect gift, or have the most lights on the house, or decorate the tree better than last year. Families get dressed up for Easter Mass and attend as a family. The Catholic Church offers believers a dramatic retelling of the Easter story through the liturgies, music and decorations of Holy Week. It is through the traditions of the Church that we too walk in the steps of Christ to His crucifixion so that we may likewise enjoy the rewards of His resurrection.

When families return home from Mass and come around the table for Easter dinner, they often recall those that are no longer with them. Maybe they remember the pies that grandma made, or the fruit that grandpa use to ask for. While most of us enjoy a particularly American Christmas and Thanksgiving, no matter what our ethnic heritage, the family traditions of Easter for many have retained their cultural identity. This is most obvious in the food that we eat. On Christmas we eat duck and on Thanksgiving we eat turkey, but for Easter every table is different. We may eat rabbit or lamb, pasta or ham, but the miracle of the day is that we are able to celebrate the same thing in different ways. This also allows us to recall our roots and the very basics which ground us as a family.

Easter is my favorite because every dish has a meaning and a story. Recipes are handed down which tie food and faith together as reminders of the important things that sustain a family physically and spiritually. Children eat the candy from their Easter baskets while Charlton Heston stars on our home television screens in “The Ten Commandments,” 56 years later.

Yes, Easter is my favorite holiday because it is my favorite holyday. It is the day which we commemorate just how much God loves us all and reminds that in turn we must love each other.


Local Monsignor witnessed Dolan’s elevation

| brennison@queenscourier.com

A caravan of worshipers, including many local religious leaders, made the pilgrimage to Rome for the elevation of New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, along with 21 others, to Cardinal.

Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, director of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Office of Parish Giving and Vicar for Development, attended the February 18 ceremonies in Rome that saw Dolan named Cardinal — the second highest rank in the Catholic Church.

“It was a wonderful experience to be there in Rome, the center of Catholicism,” Gigantiello said of the trip. “In St. Peter’s Basilica, to be there to celebrate Mass with the Holy Father with almost 10,000 people, every time you walk in, it gives you goose bumps.”

On January 6, the Pope announced that Dolan was to be appointed to the College of Cardinals — the exclusive electors of the Pope.

“I am honored, humbled and grateful, but, let’s be frank: this is not about Timothy Dolan; this is an honor from the Holy Father to the Archdiocese of New York, and to all our cherished friends and neighbors who call this great community home,” said Dolan upon hearing of his elevation.

At the consistory, Pope Benedict XVI said, “The new cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for His Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters.”

As the Archbishop, Dolan is the spiritual leader of the more than 2 million Catholics in New York. Dolan was named archbishop in 2009.

The newly-minted Cardinal presided over his first public Mass on Sunday, February 26 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Gigantiello, who is also the pastor of Mary Queen of Heaven in Brooklyn, praised the youth and diversity on display in Rome during the ceremonies.

“To see cardinals from all around the world celebrating our faith is special,” he said. “It’s good to see the church alive like it is in Rome. There are so many young people taking part in all of the services. It’s very encouraging to see them taking part.”

Aside from enjoying the celebratory nature of the events, Gigantiello is pleased with the choice of Dolan, whom he believes can help the local church reconnect with the community.

“I think [Dolan] was an excellent choice. He is a leader, a theologian, but also has a great charismatic personality,” he said. “He’s approachable, people can relate to him and he can relate to people. He’s very inviting. I think this is what the church needs today.”