It was a bittersweet occasion for Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello on Sunday, January 22 as the beloved pastor of St. Bernard in Bergen Beach celebrated a farewell mass as parishioners and dignitaries alike wished him well on his new venture: becoming pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg.
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Gigantiello, who will maintain his roles as vicar for development and director of parish giving programs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn throughout his transition. “It was a full house. Most of the parishioners and people in the neighborhood came out for the mass to bid me farewell. It was very emotional.”
Gigantiello, who also heads the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens and Futures in Education, as well as hosting the hit NET cooking show “Breaking Bread,” will be replaced at St. Bernard by Reverend Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi.
“It was very emotional to say goodbye to everyone,” he said. “It’s hard to leave. You get to know these people, and you get to become a part of their family. You’re with them in good times and in bad times. It’s a very humbling experience.”
His departure, however sad, opens the door to opportunity, according to Gigantiello.
“I’m looking forward to going to my new parish and starting many of the programs that I have already started at St. Bernard,” he told this paper. “I’m excited to bring a new kind of life and spirit into the parish.”
Gigantiello previously served as pastor at Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Flatlands, and as parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Parish in Bay Ridge.
He will begin his run at Our Lady of Mount Carmel — renowned for its annual Giglio festival — come February 1.