PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Mummers brought a twist to Sunday mass at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in South Philadelphia. The sights and sounds of the brass band that typically draws thousands on New Year’s Day, packed the church for the Wench and Comic Brigades’ annual memorial mass.
“We are honoring nine people who passed away this year and our tenth award went to a guy who gave his life to the community and the church,” said Edward Bryson, the captain of the Bryson Brigade.
Brigade leaders gave Joseph Rapone Sr. the Joseph Pop Bryson Spiritual Award for his service to the community. He is a Philadelphia native, Army veteran and a longtime Mummer.
The top honor is named after Edward Bryson’s father.
“He was the heart and soul of the Bryson Brigade and he gave 60 years of his life to the community,” said Bryson.
“He was a coach, a family guy. Anyone who knew him wanted to be like him,” said Ryan Brennan, with the Cara Liom Wench Brigade.
Bryson died in 2014, but those close to him say his legacy lives on in the community and throughout the Mummers organization. It is far more than just strutting.
“Our main objective is to help people throughout the year,” said Brennan.
“I’m a sixth generation Mummer. My son is the seventh generation. We just want it to grow,” said Brennan.