More than 1,000 parishioners packed a Brooklyn church on Sunday to give Saint Frances Cabrini her dues — after the city passed her over for a statue, despite a groundswell of support.
The overflow crowd at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary & St. Stephen church was the latest outcry from Catholics and Big Apple Italian-Americans after Cabrini was snubbed by First Lady Chirlane McCray’s “She Built NYC” statue program.
Cabrini, an Italian immigrant who founded 67 institutions to help the needy, finished first in a citywide poll asking who should get an effigy — but McCray and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen nonetheless decided not to grant her the honor.
“That’s a disgrace,” said Connie Gessler, who said Cabrini taught her grandmother. “Why did they have an election if they weren’t going to give one to the person with the most votes? How would she like it if we didn’t make her husband mayor if he got the most votes.”
The mass came after hundreds of Cabrini supporters gathered at Mother Cabrini Park on President Street and to the church.
Brooklyn Catholics are waging a holy war against First Lady Chirlane McCray.
After McCray enraged the faithful by ignoring the public’s top choice for her women’s statue program — Mother Frances Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants — the Brooklyn Diocese has launched a campaign to build its own monument to her.
“Mother Cabrini recently received the most votes in the ‘She Built NYC’ competition, which aims to build more statues honoring women,” the Diocese wrote in a press release. “But despite earning this top ranking, a public statue honoring her life is not being planned.”
The flock felt compelled to act after The Post revealed McCray’s statue snub, according to Monsignor
David Cassato of the Italian Apostolate, which is leading the fundraising effort along with the diocese.
“There was a story in the New York Post about Mother Cabrini, that she did not receive a recognition of a statue, and that’s what precipitated our honoring her,” said Cassato, who plans to donate $1,000 to the cause.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio noted Cabrini is deserving of the “She Built” honor because she literally helped build New York City.
“Her work to establish orphanages, schools, and a hospital, along with her commitment to immigrants, absolutely should be recognized,” he said. “The failure to honor Mother Cabrini with a public statue would be an affront to many New Yorkers, especially Italian-Americans, who see her as most deserving.”
McCray, meanwhile, insisted through a spokeswoman that she is not “anti-Catholic.”
“To claim that the First Lady is anti-Catholic is a falsehood and outrageous,” said spokewoman Jaclyn Rothenberg.
“She was invited to speak at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and has worked with Catholic Charities on a variety of mental health issues. Every one of the monuments for She Built go through the same process and the decision-making on this one was no different.”
Cabrini was public’s top choice for a statue, garnering 219 nominations, but she, along with two ohter top-5 vote-getters — Emily Warren Roebling, who directed the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Music School founder Janet Schenck — were tossed in favor of more women of color and an LGBTQ activist.
The woman who finished in second place was journalist and author Jane Jacobs. So it makes sense why her and Mother Cabrini were blown off by the craven phony first lady/co-mayor and the neoliberal developer crony and fixer Alicia Glen. Because if they were alive they would be excoriating the policies affecting the affordable housing and homeless crisis those two elitist women are complicit with.