Thursday, June 27, 2013

the gandolfini funeral

Soprano's actor James Gandolfini was laid to rest today, may he rest in peace (yes, I was a fan: see my previous post here). I was surprised though to read (here) that the funeral was conducted in the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, New York, as I thought that is Episcopalian ... a wee Google search confirmed I was right about that ... so there's a surprise ... I would have expected, given his background that Gandolfini would be Catholic ... maybe he 'swam the Thames' at some point? Or maybe it just goes to show that just because someone's name ends in a vowel one shouldn't jump to conclusions? (there's a statement the Italian-American business-men's league would be sure to agree with!)

One interesting thing I discovered while Googling St John's was this interesting post (here) claiming that it is not really Christian, and offering as evidence it's Masonic links and all the strange carvings and symbols ... they even have services where animals and bicycles are blessed, and a procession of ghouls in the church at Halloween (OK, that last one does sound very strange). Proof of sinister forces at work? Or just that Dan Brown has a lot to answer for? You, gentle reader, be the judge!


  1. I spoke with a friend of the Gandolfini family. They were denied the Cathedral because of his marriage situation. They were welcomed at Our Lady of Mercy (another parish closeby), but it wasn't deemed "large enough" for celebrities, so they opted for the St. John.

    His mother was hurt by this, but again, you have to live like a Catholic in order to be buried like one. While I understand that sentiment, I think the situation could've been handled a little better. Ah well. What can you do?

    We can't just be Catholics in death. A Catholic funeral Mass for someone who is not really Catholic is like having a graduation ceremony for someone who never came to class.

  2. Thanks for that Gina. I wondered if it might be something like that, but thought it would be uncharitable to speculate.

    There is another way of looking at it, based on the facts you present. He wasn't denied a Catholic funeral; his family chose not to accept the opportunity for one in Our Lady's in favour of a big celebrity one elsewhere.

    I wonder what the rationale was behind St John's making the offer - and if they would have been so quick to make it if he hadn't been a celebrity?