Cecile Pagliarulo 2017-10-11 08:29:42
MASS FOR FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS PATERSON The wildfires in California this week and the recent tragedy in Las Vegas have highlighted the sacrifices firefighters and first responders make every day for the safety for others. Knowing these brave men and women risk their lives daily, the Paterson Diocese held its third annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Mass at St. Gerard Majella Church here Oct. 10. The Mass honored 74 deceased firefighters from the Paterson Diocese killed in the line of duty. Special recognition was given to Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in West Milford, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001 while serving as New York City’s fire chaplain and Franciscan Father John Piccione, chaplain of several fire departments in North Jersey and a former pastor of St. Bonaventure Church here. Also remembered in the Prayers of the Faithful was Kerry Rivera, a Paterson firefighter and a parishioner of Our Lady of Consolation Parish in Wayne where he taught religious education classes. He died in June. Bishop Serratelli was main celebrant of the Mass with several diocesan priests, who serve as fire chaplains, as concelebrants. Father Brendan Murray, one of those chap lains, who serves as pastor of Sacred Heart and Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parishes in Dover, delivered the homily. To begin the Mass, the Passaic County Pipes and Drums Band played as the American flag and local fire department banners processed down the main aisle. Participating in the Mass as readers and gift bearers were local firefighters from around the Diocese. Bishop Serratelli welcomed the firefighters and said, “We ask God for his blessing on all firefighters and also eternal rest and peace for those who have died in the line of duty.” In his homily, Father Murray, who has served for 18 years as chaplain for Rockaway Borough Fire Department, said, “God’s protection is with us because he loves us. Jesus uses many people to reveal his love to us and gives some men and women special heroic parts, who are willing to risk convenience; middle of the night calls; comfort — firefighters’ gear is not comfortable; your own safety and even your own lives for others. Firefighters and EMTs put their comfort level and their lives on the line.” Father Murray spoke about the massacre in Las Vegas, where many on-duty and offduty firefighters, police officers and military, risked their lives. For the brave men and women in Las Vegas, Father Murray said, “We come to this Mass to pray for all those who answered their last call.” At the conclusion of his homily, Father Murray said, “We recognize how you give your lives for others. That comes from the Gospel; that comes from Jesus Christ, ‘no greater love than this.’ We ask the Lord to encourage this fraternity that we have and that we recognize, even if we have to fight the fire of hell. And that with all the saints, we will in our dressed blues, so to speak, join that long parade which Jesus leads.” Following the homily, the Prayers of the Faithful were said focusing on prayers for the firefighters, most especially for their safety. After Holy Communion, the Passaic County Pipes and Drums Band played “Amazing Grace,” which moved many in the congregation to tears. At the end of Mass, Father Patrick Ryan, pastor of St. James Church in Totowa and fire chaplain, and committee member for the Fallen Firefighters Mass, thanked all those in attendance at the Mass for their support of the firefighters. Before giving the final blessing, Bishop Serratelli said, “The Diocese of Paterson is grateful for the great sacrifice you make, whatever role you play in firefighting. You protect human life and for that you are cooperating with God. It is God of Life who wills us into life from the first moment of our conception and calls us to eternal life when our life on earth has ended. You are in our prayers that you are kept safe and protected in the line of duty and we pray for your families.”
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