NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday, a day of recognizing Italian heritage, was marked by the unveiling of a statue of Mother Cabrini, the Patron Saint of Immigrants, in Lower Manhattan.

It was one of the many ways Columbus Day was being celebrated in New York City, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.

Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there was the sound of church bells and the sight of the American and Italian flags on display.

Inside, was the annual Columbus Day mass celebrating Italian heritage and the contributions of the Italian-American community.

“Faith, family, food, friendship, neighborhood, parish, patriotism, music, art, culture, love, warmth, prayer — all part of the Italian genius that we celebrate as a nation and a city today,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan said.

It was a different kind of mass, with reduced attendance and social distancing, but it held the same meaning for those gathered.

“It’s a proud day for Italian-Americans,” said Michael Dejana, a member of the Columbus Citizens Foundation.

“It’s our faith. It’s our religion. It’s the way we live,” added John Alleva of Staten Island.

WATCH: Statue Of Mother Cabrini Unveiled In Lower Manhattan

The coronavirus pandemic rained on the Columbus Day Parade, which would have normally been flooding Fifth Avenue with Italian pride.

“This has been a year of challenges for the Italian-American community and the country, but I promise we’ll be back bigger and better next year,” said Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Citizens Foundation and 2020 Columbus Celebration.

This year’s virtual celebration came with a promise from last year — the construction of a statue of Mother Cabrini — after Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray were criticized for ignoring strong support for the proposed statue.

Mother Cabrini, an Italian-American saint, dedicated her life to serving immigrants and the needy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the statue.

New York City-based sculptors Jill Burkee-Biagi and Giancarlo Biagi were recommended by Cuomo’s Mother Cabrini Memorial Commission to design and build the statue.

“The young girl is a representative of her, of Mother Cabrini, when she was younger. She was holding a book to her dedication to education. The boy is an immigrant,” Burkee-Biagi said.

“We are all immigrants in one way or another,” Biagi added.

The statue of the Patron Saint of Immigrants is specifically placed in Battery Park’s South Cove along the Hudson River with a direct view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

“May this statue serve to remind us of the principles that made us great as a country and as a people, the values of Mother Cabrini, compassion, acceptance, community, freedom, faith, hope and love,” Cuomo said.

What a day, and a time, to be reminded of that.

As mentioned, the pandemic canceled the big Columbus Day Parade. The last time that happened was in 1983 following the passing of Terence Cardinal Cooke.

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