The Giglio Boys were back Sunday, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of a beloved religious feast that celebrates Saint Paulinus of Nola, Italy.
The feast is celebrating its 134th anniversary at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where a large statue of San Paolino di Nola was joyfully carried up the middle aisle for Mass, as a Giglio band played “When the Saints Come Marching In” and congregants clapped enthusiastically during the procession.
The Giglio Boys get their name from the 4-ton tower they carry on their shoulders, which also contains the weight of a band and the Saint Paulinus statue on top.
The church’s pastor, Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, had told The Tablet–a newspaper for the Brooklyn Diocese–“not having the feast last year was a big loss.”
Gigantiello said the net revenue generated by the 12-day feast supports his parish for the whole year.
The Giglio lifters were fortunate Sunday that the oppressive heat and humidity that marked much of the last week was not present for an important day. The sky was overcast.
Dozens of lifters started their work by hoisting a giant boat featuring a costumed “turk”–and the full band–on their shoulders. You could see many of the lifters grimacing under the weight of the float.
But the Giglio Boys were happy to see the feast back, and so were the vendors. Visitors could enjoy an assortment of food, including sausage heroes, candy apples, and zeppoles.