NEW YORK - The annual Columbus Day Parade will go on as scheduled, but this year it will be all virtual because of the pandemic.

The Columbus Citizens Foundation announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo will be the Grand Marshal of the 76th annual Columbus Celebration because of his leadership during the pandemic and his strong ties to his Italian heritage. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci will also be honored during the virtual celebration.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan will also celebrate the day with a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

In a typical year, New York City's annual Columbus Day parade is the largest celebration of Italian American heritage and culture in the United States. 

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo will also celebrate Columbus Day by unveiling a statue of the Italian religious figure, Mother Cabrini, in Battery Park City Monday.

Mother Frances Cabrini was an Italian-American Catholic Nun, who assisted many Italians in immigrating to the United States. 

She was canonized in 1946 as the first American Saint, and she is the Patron Saint of Immigrants. 

The governor announced last year a monument would be dedicated in her honor, using state funds. 

This comes after controversy when Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray faced criticism that Mother Cabrini was not chosen for a new round of city statues honoring women.

This despite Cabrini winning the vote in a public poll. 

The snub was even called "racist" by some Italian advocates. 

Cuomo says Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson have been invited to the unveiling.