Firefighters Honored at St. Francis Cathedral

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Photos courtesy of Michael Molfetto


This past Sunday, the Diocese of Metuchen celebrated its 6th annual Firefighters' Mass at the Cathedral.  The tradition was established in 2004 by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, who said at that time "We owe our firefighters a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service and dedication. Their special ministry deserves special recognition. Our Mass is our way of honoring them and asking God to bless and protect them."


According to Diocese Director of Communications, Joanne Ward,  approximately 100 firefighters attend the mass, held at the end of April each year. "I think that in the future, since we have moved the Mass from a Saturday evening to Sunday at 12 noon, we will see more firefighters attending," explained Ms Ward, who organizes the mass together with a committee of firefighters.  


This year, particular honor was paid to those departments celebrating significant anniversaries: North Stelton Fire Company was recognized for 75 years of service to Piscataway residents and Summit Engine Company for 50 years of service to South River.


Sunday's service was celebrated principally by Bishop Bootkowski, and concelebrated by The Reverend Monsignor Michael J. Alliegro, Rector of the Cathedral and The Very Reverend Thomas F. Ryan, chaplain of the Perth Amboy Fire Department.  Members of the various Fire Departments in attendance served as readers, gift bearers, and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.  In addition, Gary Chapman, read the Firefighters' prayer and led a Remembrance of the Fallen; John Lindquist Jr. of Edison tolled the bell. Mrs. Nancy Conroy of Metuchen led the congregation in song.

Chris Kasperski of the Edison Fire Department was the bugler and United Pipe Bands of New Jersey, several members of which are firefighters, played the bagpipes.  Volunteers from our own Metuchen Fire Department were included with the color guard.  Mayor Vahalla was in attendance.


In addition to this mass, masses to honor other service personnel are celebrated by the Diocese:


Blue Mass: Law enforcement personnel, held in September/October

                  (will probably be held on 9/23/09)

White Mass: Health care personnel, held in March

Red Mass: Individuals in the legal and judicial system, scheduled for 11/01/09

Mass for Racial Harmony: held in January
Respect Life Mass: also held in January

Diocesan Youth Day: Which includes a Mass, held in March


Please check the Diocese web site for more information on each of these masses


Firefighters Prayer:


Dear God, through the intercession of our patron, Saint Florian, have mercy

on the souls of our comrades who have made the supreme sacrifice in the

performance of their duty. Show only your mercy to all who have gone

before us after years of faithful discharge of their responsibilities, which now

rest upon ourselves.


Give me the grace, O Lord, to prepare each day as you summon me to

protect the innocent from the many ravishes of fire. Enable me to always be

alert, and to find that faintest cry through smoke and flames. Lead me into

battle with the gifts you have bestowed upon me to save a life and protect all

property from harm. Guard my heart and spirit from the temptations of evil.

Give me the strength to follow in your Holy Word and to be true to all my

fellow firefighters. Instill in me a desire to be loyal to my calling, respectful,

honorable, obedient and valiant.


O Merciful Father, always shower your blessings upon my family and fellow

firefighters, and guide them with the strength and love that is your Holy



In my final hour, O Heavenly Father, have mercy upon my soul. Fortified in

your virtue, I shall have no fear when you command me to join you in

Heaven. Grant me your tribunal of justice. And as I take my final breath,

show me your great love and welcome me to your side as I pray, "Into Thy

hands, I commend my spirit."



1 Comment

Thank you for your wonderful story on our Firefighters' Mass. Together with Michael's photos it really captures the day and in its own way, honors our firefighters who are so deserving of recognition.
Joanne Ward

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