FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2020
CHRISTMAS TREE TO LIGHT UP GRAND ARMY PLAZA ALONGSIDE ANGELS UNAWARES SCULPTURE HONORING MIGRANTS
The Diocese of Brooklyn and DeSales Media Group will host the 2020 Diocesan Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 5 p.m., in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch located at 20 Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The 35-foot Christmas tree shines bright in approximately 14,000 Christmas lights.
In addition to the tree lighting, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will officially bless a replica of the Angels Unawares sculpture, designed by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. The original sculpture was permanently dedicated at the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square in September 2019 to mark the 105th World Day of Refugees and Migrants.
The 20-foot-long, 12-foot-high, and 3.8-ton reproduction has arrived in Brooklyn as part of its tour of the United States. The bronze sculpture has made stops in San Antonio, Texas, South Bend, Indiana, and Boston College. Through the support of local benefactors, Angels Unawares will be on display at Grand Army Plaza until January 3. It will be permanently installed next year at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
The reproduction depicts a raft packed with migrants and refugees representing diverse cultures and different times in history. Those represented among the 140 figures include a Jewish person fleeing Nazi Germany, a Syrian escaping that country’s civil war, a Polish woman running from the communist regime, a Cherokee on the Trail of Tears, an Irish boy escaping the potato famine, and the Holy Family of Nazareth. Mother Cabrini, the Patron Saint of Immigrants, is also depicted in the sculpture. Angel wings are visible at the center, a symbol of the sacredness of the migrant and refugee.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn was offered the opportunity to display Angels Unawares because we indeed are a Diocese of Immigrants. Truly this is a unique sculpture. Because we may not be able to view this in person due to the pandemic, we have dedicated a part of our website to the sculpture so that many of the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens may have an opportunity to view this work of art online during this Christmas season,” said the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn.
For more information on Angels Unawares, visit www.https://dioceseofbrooklyn.org/
Members of the media are welcome to attend Tuesday’s tree lighting and sculpture unveiling.