CARROLL GARDENS — This Friday, beginning at 7 p.m., Italian-American Catholics from throughout the tri-state area whose families originally came from Carroll Gardens will return home to Brooklyn’s oldest Italian-American parish, Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Church at 125 Summit St., to take part in the Good Friday procession.
While the area has seen much change since the parish’s founding by Italian immigrants in 1882, this time-honored tradition and devotion continues to be a staple of Carroll Gardens. Even with mom-and-pop stores disappearing, million-dollar price tags on area homes and a changing population, the tradition has persevered.
Many neighborhood changes are visible along the procession path. The former Louie’s Candy Store is now LuCali, rated one of the 10 best pizzerias in the country in an article in GQ magazine several years ago. The former Cabrini Chapel, once owned by the parish, now houses “The Landmark on Strong Place” condos.
This year, those participating have been asked to display a cross in front of their homes. The path can be found online at mariaaddolorata.com.
The procession will begin at 7 p.m. in front of Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Church. After winding its way through the narrow streets of the neighborhood, it will conclude in the church for a brief prayer service in Italian.
Local civic activist and former political candidate John Heyer says, “It is events like this in our city and borough that preserve not only the faith of its citizens, but also the identity of individual neighborhoods, which preserve the small-town character in such a large metropolis.”