For the first time since 1903, the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation is holding a recruitment drive.
“It’s very hard to get the younger generation involved,” said Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, pastor. “Many of the lifters that are lifting today grew up in the neighborhood, but since the neighborhood has changed, many people have moved away.”
This year’s feast will go on as planned, but recruiting new members, Msgr. Gigantiello said, is vital to lift the Italian- American tradition into the next generation.
“Like every organization, you need new blood to come in,” said Mark Masioli, one of the feast’s organizers, “You always need men. We want to continue this tradition for another hundred years. To do that, we need new people.”
In just one night, organizers of the feast recruited 20 people to do the honors of lifting, but they still need more.