This year we have the honor of acknowledging an incredible group of award recipients, all who have made a difference in our community.
Founder & Chief Advocacy Officer, Fans For The Cure
WFAN/SiriusXM Radio Host
Ed Randall is a prostate cancer survivor, founder of the non-profit Fans For the Cure, distinguished sports broadcast journalist and author. Ed Randall founded Fans for the Cure in 2003 in gratitude for having survived prostate cancer. This 501c3 charity is dedicated to the proposition of promoting awareness of the disease and the life-saving value of early detection, to which he can personally attest.This unexpected second act in his life complimented his distinguished career as a sports broadcast journalist. His name is nationally recognized and held in the highest esteem as one of baseball’s foremost authorities and one of the nation’s preeminent interviewers on television and radio. Ed is heard nationally Saturday mornings on Sirius/XM Radio’s MLB Network Radio channel 89 hosting “Remember When,” a baseball nostalgia show. Additionally, he welcomed more than 2,700 guests in his 17 years hosting the top-rated “Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball” Sunday mornings on WFAN-Radio in New York, the only show in the nation’s largest broadcast market devoted exclusively to baseball. He is hailed as an extraordinary storyteller who creates an intimacy with the people he interviews. Sports fans across the country were first introduced to Ed through his reportage on ESPN’s SportsCenter, followed by his critically-acclaimed interview series, “Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball.” From 1988 through 2002, the program, airing on a confederation of 22 regional sports networks, developed an enviable heritage of journalism, the result of more than 500 compelling interviews with the Who’s Who of baseball, including Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray in his first interview in 10 years and, from other disciplines, New York Governor Mario Cuomo, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and actor Bill Murray. Ed began a long play-by-play career in the minor leagues for free with the Elmira Red Sox of the New York-Penn League. After stops for the Triple-A affiliates of the Texas Rangers in Spokane, Washington and Oakland Athletics in Vancouver, British Columbia in the Pacific Coast League, he was elevated to the major leagues as the pre and post-game host of the New York Yankees home games in 1988 on SportsChannel New York. He returned as the post-game analyst on the commercial telecasts of the Yankees on WWOR-TV from 2010 through 2013. The author of three books about baseball, among the greatest joys in his professional life was receiving the rare distinction of substituting for the legendary Bob Sheppard as the public address announcer at the original Yankee Stadium as the Yankees hosted the Los Angeles Angels in a weekend series. Ed was inducted into the All Hallows High School Hall of Fame in the Bronx and was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities while an undergraduate at Fordham University and nominated for entry in the Fordham Club. His real privilege is not sitting in front of a microphone but using the influence and resources that his talent and profession have brought him to impact, enrich and elevate the spirit of others. He lives by the saying, “Service to others is the rent we pay on Earth” and has taken the Jesuit message of “men and women for others” to heart.
Uff. Cav. Joseph V. Scelsa, ED. D.
Founder & President, Italian American Museum
Joseph V. Scelsa, a Bronx native, is a professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), President of the Italian American Museum, and prominent Italian-American rights activist. Professor Joseph V. Scelsa received his doctorate in Sociology and Education from Columbia University Teachers College, his dissertation topic being “Constructive Pluralism”. In addition, he holds three Masters’ degrees in Sociology, Social Studies and Counseling. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York State. In 1984, Prof. Scelsa was appointed Director of the Italian American Institute of The City University of New York which was renamed the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute after the late State Senator John D. Calandra in 1987. On March 1, 1999, Prof. Scelsa was named Dean of the Calandra Italian American Institute and elevated to Full Professor. In October 2000, Dr. Scelsa was named acting Vice President for Institutional Development at Queens College, CUNY and on July 1, 2005, he was appointed Vice President for Outreach and Cultural Affairs at Queens College, CUNY. Prof. Scelsa as Dean of the Calandra Institute created and served is Executive Producer and Host of ITALICS: The Italian-American Magazine which is co-produced by the Calandra Institute and CUNY-TV; seen on cable stations throughout the United States. On Columbus Day 1999, Prof. Scelsa, as Dean of the Calandra Institute spearheaded at the New York Historical Society, a four-month long exhibition entitled, The Italians of New York; Five Centuries of Struggle and Achievement. More than 100,000 people visited that exhibition. As a result of this exhibition, in 2001, Prof. Scelsa founded the Italian American Museum and currently serves as its president. Prof. Scelsa has authored and edited several books and has written various articles and reports on ethnicity, pluralism and education, notable the report on the Italian-American High School Student Drop-Out Rate in the New York City Schools (New York Times, May 1, 1990). In 1997, Prof. Scelsa contributed an essay entitled, “The 80th Street Mafia” in Beyond the Godfather published by the National Italian American Foundation. Prof. Scelsa was the historical consultant for A&E’s documentary, The Italians in America. Prof. Scelsa is considered an expert in Italian-American affairs; he teaches and lectures extensively in Italian-Americans Studies and specializes in Italian-Americans and Civil Rights. Prof. Scelsa has been featured in national and international multi-media outlet such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Daily News, Observer, FoxNews, CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NY1, RAI, America Oggi, Corriere Della Sera, La Stampa, Food Channel, etc. In 1992, Prof. Scelsa filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, Scelsa v. CUNY, 92Civ.6690 (CBM) in United States District Court, in which he was awarded an injunction baring The City University of New York from discriminating against Italian Americans. This Landmark case marked the first time Italian-Americans were successful in bringing a class action suit under United States Civil Rights statutes. As a graduate student at The City University of New York, Prof. Scelsa held the position of Vice Chair for Legislative Affairs of the University Student Senate. Prof. Scelsa also served as a Board Member of the Columbia University Club of New York, the Coalition of Italo-American Associations, Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee, Commission for Social Justice/Order Sons of Italy in America, National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee, Advisory Board Member of the Italian-American Legal Defense & Higher Education Fund and a member of the College Scholarship Committee of the Columbus Citizens Foundation and NIAF’s Scholarship and Grants Committee. He is a national member of UNICO and the Order Sons of Italy in America. Prof. Scelsa is active in many other Italian-American organizations and causes. Prof. Scelsa has received numerous awards and honors. In 1992, he received the rank of Cavaliere of the Order of Merit, from the Republic of Italy; in 1997 received the rank of Ufficiale from the order of Merit of Savoy and in 2009 was elevated to the rank of Commendatore. In 1997, Dr. Scelsa received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 2005, he received the rank of Cavaliere of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and in 2007 was elevated to Knight Commander. On June 2, 2013 (Italian National Day), he was elevated to rank of Ufficiale in Order Merit from the Republic of Italy. Prof. Scelsa is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who Among Italian Americans. In 1999, he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence from Governor Pataki and on June 1, 2000, Italian National Day; he received recognition from the Consul General of New York for outstanding achievements. In 2003, he founded and is president of the National Italian American Legal Defense Fund, Inc. In 2002, he founded and is publisher of America & Italia Review newspaper, the forerunner of “Oggi Sette”. In 2011 he was named Grand Marshal of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade. In November 2007, Prof. Scelsa, as president of the Italian American Museum purchased for $9.4 million three buildings to establish a permanent home for the Italian American Museum in the heart of New York City’s Little Italy on the corner of Mulberry and Grand Streets, the site of the historic Banca Stabile (1885). On October 8, 2008, the museum was opened to the public with its permanent exhibit “The Immigrant Experience: Banca Stabile”. In 2009 with the announcement of the tragic earthquake in Abruzzi, Italy, Prof. Scelsa again as President of the Italian American Museum spearheaded a national fundraising drive which netted $110,000.00 which he personally delivered to the Italian Minister of Cultural Affairs in Rome, Italy. In gratitude for this donation the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs sent the restored Madonna de Petranico to the Italian American Museum to be displayed from April through May 2011 before it was exhibited on June 2nd Italian National Day at Cipriani 42nd Street. In recognition of his efforts Prof. Scelsa was given the Medal of the Minister of Cultural Affairs at a conference held at The Italian Cultural Institute in New York City. In 2018, Dr. Scelsa partnered with Nexus Development Group to expand the Italian American Museum from 1,600 to 7,000 sq ft. The Museum anticipates reopening again to the public in 2024 with a full range of programs including its permanent exhibition, “The Italian American Experience”.
Executive VP & Chief Admin Officer, First Central Savings Bank
Michael Serao, is a banking professional and influential LGBTQ+ activist advocating for underrepresented communities and inclusive banking services. In a world driven by technology and fast-paced transactions, there are still individuals who hold tight to the old-fashioned ideals of community, compassion, and personal service. Meet Michael Serao, a banking professional with a heart of gold and an unwavering dedication to his community. His story is one of unwavering commitment to both his career and the betterment of those around him. With over 25 years of experience in the banking industry, Michael Serao has made an indelible mark on the financial landscape. Having held esteemed leadership positions at Commerce Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Quontic Bank, Serao brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the table. Currently serving as the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at First Central Savings Bank (FCSB) in Glen Cove, NY, he has played a pivotal role in modernizing FCSB’s banking services. With a commitment to embracing digital advancements while maintaining the charm of personal service, Serao is dedicated to providing every community with the best of both worlds. Serao is an influential LGBTQ+ activist advocating for underrepresented communities and inclusive banking services. As part of the Advisory Board of The New York League of Independent Bankers, he strives for equal financial access for all. His dedication and impact have garnered recognition, with awards such as the Long Island Press Power List, East End Impact Award, The A-List New York, and King of New York. Serao demonstrates unwavering dedication to philanthropy, actively securing funding for a wide range of nonprofit and local community service organizations that support education, environmental conservation, animal welfare, health and wellness, special needs, disabilities, and children’s charities. As a Board Director for Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) and Chair of the HR Committee, he is at the forefront of providing resources and support for individuals with autism. Currently serving as a Board Member of the Freeport Education Foundation, Serao continues to have a direct impact on the education and growth of his community. His previous board directorship and advisory roles demonstrate his commitment to serving the greater good in every aspect of his life. As the CEO of Serao Enterprises and President of Guy Lombardo Properties, Serao combines visionary leadership and entrepreneurship. His academic background includes graduation from Queensborough Community College and coursework at New York University. While accomplishments and accolades define one aspect of a person’s life, it is the personal details that truly paint a picture of an individual’s character. Michael Serao resides in Hewlett Harbor with his husband, Dr. Fidel Abreu, and their 3 dogs, Bernie, Coco, and Kai. Dr. Abreu’s professional accomplishments as the founder of Fidel Abreu, DDS PLLC, which provides a safe space for LGBTQ people and free services for victims of domestic violence further demonstrate the power couple’s commitment to serving their community. In an era of impersonal transactions, Serao stands out for his warm hospitality, community stewardship, and genuine care. His legacy will continue to shine brightly, inspiring others to embrace personal connections and make a transformative impact in the digital world.
Rev. Msgr. David L. Cassato
Chaplin, New York Police Department (NYPD)
GLORIA D’AMICO LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Monsignor David L. Cassato, a Brooklyn native, also serves as Vicar of Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Diocese. Monsignor David L. Cassato was born in Brooklyn on the second day of September, 1947. He attended Holy Family Elementary School and Saint John’s Preparatory in Brooklyn. At a very young age he became convinced that he would devote his life to “God and God’s people!’ After high school he attended Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He then went on to Our Lady of the Angels Seminary and earned the Master of Divinity degree. On May 27, 1972 he was ordained a priest. His first mass was celebrated at Holy Family, the place where it all began. He was then appointed to Saint Rita’s in Long Island City where, as assistant pastor, he had an active part in the development of many parish programs. He served for thirteen years in this capacity, which proved to be a valuable training ground for the responsibilities he was to assume in coming years. In January 1985 Bishop Francis J. Mugavero chose Fr. Cassato to become Administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel located in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Less than a year later Bishop Mugavero asked Father to become the next Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father accepted and thereby became the seventh pastor. The installation Mass took place on December 1, 1985. The cumulated experience acquired during the thirteen years at St. Rita’s soon was put to good use. The years he spent developing a diversified youth program, a drop-in center for teenagers, a summer camp program for youngsters, a retreat program for young adults, activities for senior citizens and regular visits to shut ins in the parish, together with active participation in community affairs were to be implemented whenever possible in his new assignment. As the new pastor, he soon took into account what his priorities were to be and immediately began to revitalize the good will and enthusiasm of the parishioners. His aptitude for remembering names of each parishioner became a topic of conversation and was most pleasing to them. The most difficult task set before him was to close Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, a process that had begun before his arrival at Mount Carmel. He vowed to the parishioners that he would do all in his power to one day have the school reopened. Preparation for the celebration of the Centennial Year 1987, together with the normal routine of running a parish, kept Father running just enough “to stand still.” The Brooklyn Tablet commented that the parish was blessed with a Pastor having the necessary qualities of vim, vigor and vitality to keep up with the rapid pace of activities. Father Cassato has succeeded in his original challenge, namely “to put an upward tone to the parish, to restore a sense of happiness, joy and enthusiasm for the church and the faith.” On Monday April 25, 1988 Bishop Mugavero notified Father Cassato that our Holy Father Pope John Paul II, has made him a Domestic Prelate of Honor, “Monsignor.” June 18, 1992 Bishop Daily wrote to Monsignor Cassato describing him as a dedicated and committed Shepherd. He also expressed his gratitude for the spiritual leadership and administrative strength he has exhibited as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In view of this, the Bishop was pleased to renew his appointment as Pastor for an extended period of six years. On September 8, 1992 Msgr. Cassato was able to perfect the promise to the parishioners by opening the school as Mount Carmel Academy, a Middle School serving the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, with a full academic schedule including Italian. In January 1998 a dialogue between St. Vincent DePaul School and Mount Carmel Academy began. The discussion was about the future of Catholic Education on the Northside of Williamsburg. It was decided that a merge of the two schools would be in the best interest of all. In September of 1998 Msgr. Cassato assumed responsibility of St. Vincent DePaul School and in September of 199 Northside Catholic Academy was born with grades pre-K to 5 at the St. Vincent site and grades 6 to 8 at the Mount Carmel site. Both locations were under the direction of one principal, with Msgr. Cassato actively involved much of the school life. On September 14, 1998 Bishop Daily appointed Msgr. Cassato Administrator of the parish of Annunciation, believing it would bring new life to the parish. A Spanish Mass was begun at Annunciation, and after about a year, the Spanish speaking community of Mount Carmel joined the newly forming community of Annunciation. A religious education program, providing catechesis in English and Spanish was begun at Annunciation and both parishes worked more closely, worshipping together at Corpus Christi and Pentecost. On June 16, 2001, Msgr. Cassato was appointed New York City Police Chaplain by Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. On November 1, 2001, Msgr. Cassato was assigned as Pastor to the parish of St. Athanasius in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. He was also named Executive Director of the St. Athanasius Golden Age Club, The Rosary Society, The Holy Name Society and G.I.S.A. In May 2002, Msgr. Cassato earned a Master of Science degree in Education with a focus on Administration and Supervision from Mercy College. (M.S.Ed.) In 2002, Msgr. Cassato became a member of the Board of Trustees at Maimonides Medical Center. In 2003, Msgr. Cassato was appointed as Chaplain of Bishop Kearney High School. On June 30, 2015, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio appointed Msgr. Cassato Administrator of the parish of St. Dominic. On January 31, 2016, Msgr. Cassato, was appointed to diocesan coordinator of ministry to the Italian Immigrants. On June 9, 2017, Msgr. Cassato was promoted to Deputy Chief Chaplain of the Police Department of the City of New York by Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. On July 23, 2020, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio appointed Msgr. Cassato as the Vicar of Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Diocese. On May 27, 2022, promoted to assistant chief chaplain. On June 30, 2022 retired as Pastor of St Athanasius – St Dominic Parish, is known as Pastor Emeritus.
Rev. Msgr. Jamie J. Gigantiello
Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
GLORIA D’AMICO LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Monsignor Gigantiello is active in numerous diocesan, community and NYC-wide organizations. Prior to studying for the priesthood, Monsignor Gigantiello received a Business Degree from Baruch College and graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. For ten years, he worked in New York City’s hotel industry in various managerial positions and taught cooking and hotel management at Erasmus Hall for three years before entering Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. After his Ordination in 1995, Monsignor Gigantiello served as parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Parish, Bay Ridge. Five years later, he was assigned to Mary Queen of Heaven Parish as parochial vicar for two years and installed as pastor in April 2002. Msgr. Jamie was installed as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish in 2013. In 2017 he was installed as the pastor of the now combined parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Annunciation of the B.V.M. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he currently serves and run the great Feast of the Giglio! In addition to his parish responsibilities, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio named Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello Vicar for Development, while remaining pastor. The Development Office under the direction of Monsignor Gigantiello’s oversees all stewardship, fundraising and advancement for the Diocese of Brooklyn, its Catholic schools, academies, parishes and affiliated corporations. As Vicar for Development, Monsignor oversees the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens, including the Annual Catholic Appeal and Generations of Faith as well as Futures In Education, the Catholic school scholarship program in Brooklyn and Queens. He spearheaded the successful Generations of Faith Capital Campaign that raised over 100 Million Dollars for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Monsignor Gigantiello remains active in numerous diocesan, community and city-wide organizations and events. He continues to serve on the Coordinating Committee for the Bishop’s Annual Christmas Luncheon and is chairman of the board of the Emmaus Center of Williamsburg, an arts and cultural center focused on evangelization in Brooklyn’s oldest opera house. He has served on a variety of civic and not-for-profit boards. Following September 11th, the New York City Police Department made him an Honorary Chaplain in recognition of his work at Ground Zero and he continues to receive numerous awards for his outstanding community leadership. Monsignor ministers as Chaplain to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Office of Emergency Management of the City of New York and was recently sworn in as Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department with the rank of Deputy Chief. He also serves as Spiritual Moderator for the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre and Chaplain to local chapters of the Knights of Columbus, the Columbiettes and Lions Club. Monsignor Gigantiello assisted in coordinating the arrival and departure ceremonies for both H.H. Benedict XVI and H.H. Francis at Kennedy Airport during their visits to NYC. He was also one of the leading members of Bishop DiMarzio’s Committee that raised funds for the Italian Chapel dedicated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. For the last ten years Msgr. Jamie has been the host of his own cooking show “Breaking Bread“ on Net TV, which has won two Telly Awards for DeSales Media.