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Ossining Trustee Robert Daraio Apologizes For Remark About Church

Ossining Trustee Robert Daraio apologized for remarks he made about St. Lucia at an Ossining Board of Trustees meeting.
Ossining Trustee Robert Daraio apologized for remarks he made about St. Lucia at an Ossining Board of Trustees meeting. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Robert Daraio

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining village Trustee Robert Daraio learned the hard way that you don't mess with the saints.

Daraio apologized at the Oct. 8 board meeting for a remark he made about St. Lucia at a board meeting in September.

The trustee said he made the comment at the September meeting out of frustration over the refusal of St. Ann's Catholic Church to apply for permits well in advance.

Most groups, if they are holding a procession, submit a permit a month in advance, but Daraio said the church, led by the Rev. Edward Byrne submits its requests the Tuesday before a Saturday procession.

"All the other groups comply, except for St. Ann's," Daraio said at the meeting. "Why are they special? We tried to meet with them to get them to change, but they wouldn't listen."

Daraio said he would vote no the next time St. Ann's did this, but said he could not get other village board members to go along with him

St. Ann's recently submitted a permit a few days in advance for a procession for St. Lucia, and it set Daraio off.

"Is she a new saint?" Daraio quipped. "Between the 8th century and now, you couldn't manage to fill out a piece of paper?"

"We need to increase the budget for potholes," Daraio said at the meeting. "Wouldn't want St. Lucia to fall through a hole. The farmers market applied for their permit in plenty of time, they could have a procession of peas and carrots."

The reaction from many residents was strong. Daraio said he received threatening phone calls with some people condemning him to hell and that he was a devil worshiper.

Daraio admits that he went too far, and that he was being insensitive and unkind.

"I went over the top," Daraio said. "It was a little self indulgent."

Daraio initially did not want to bow to intimidation and apologize, but decided it would be the right thing to do.

"I regret that my remarks upset the Italian-American and Catholic community," Daraio said. "It was not my intention. I apologize for everyone being upset, I will not repeat this behavior."

The church however took heed of the substance of his complaint. Three days after his remarks, the church sent the village a list of all processions planned for 2014.

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