24th annual Blue Mass honored fallen law enforcement officers


The Paterson Diocese hosted its 24th annual Blue Mass on May 21 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson to honor and give thanks for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who serve in law enforcement.

Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney was the main celebrant and homilist. Many priests from around the diocese, who serve as police chaplains for local departments, concelebrated the Mass, which included a remembrance of those who have died. At the solemn celebration, many state and federal agencies and local police departments were in attendance, family members of the fallen officers honored, and civilians. Government leaders also attended the Mass.

Law enforcement officers remembered were Lt. Richard Weber of the Newark Police Department, Officer Robert Shisler of the Deptford Township Police Department, Associate Director John “Jack” Hess of the FBI, Capt. William J. Gowron Sr. of the Sayreville Police Department, Special Agent Robert C. Castioni Jr. of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Capt. Richard L. Ruiz Sr. of N.Y./N.J. Port Authority, and Sgt. Michael “Zini” Kurinzi of the Elizabeth Police Department.

Held in special remembrance were Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Chief Joseph Zadroga of the North Arlington Police Department.

An honor guard consisting of police officers carried American flags into St. John’s, during the Mass’s opening procession. Law enforcement officers also participated in the liturgy. Relatives of deceased officers helped present the Offertory Gifts. Later, a bagpipe band played “Amazing Grace” to remember the hero officers lost.


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