“Blue” Mass Held for First Responders

“Blue” Mass Held for First Responders
by David Greene

Dozens of first responders from across the city were honored with a special mass at St. Philip Neri Church on Wednesday, January 31.

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics arrived in uniform at the church, located at 3025 Grand Concourse in the Bedford Park section of the borough.

Father Jose Serrano blesses as NYPD police officer during annual “Blue” mass at St. Philip Neri Church on the Grand Concourse.–Photo by David Greene

For at least the last five-years the mass has been held to honor those who dedicated their life to the service of helping others.

John Riley, the Regional Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, explained, “We’re here to honor all those who give so much each and every day.”

Riley added, “We have the same mission, the mission of the church is to go-fourth and protect and to make certain that the most innocent, the most vulnerable are taken care of.”

St. Philip Neri students, police officers, firefighters and paramedics join together for a special blessing.–Photo by David Greene

Father Jose Serrano who presided over the service, later explained that students of St. Philip Neri School host the mass, adding, “They have a mass and we take the opportunity to invite officers and first responders to honor them and give thanks to God for their service.”

Deputy Inspector Ray Mundo, the Commanding Officer of the 34th Precinct in Manhattan, stated after the mass, “We live to serve the community and we’re always looking forward to coming here. It’s a great day and the children are awesome.”

Mundo added, “The children show us the most love and they look up to us and we love to be around them, so it’s a great day for all of us.”

Father Jose Serrano gives a special blessing to students, police officers, firefighters and paramedics during “Blue” mass at St. Philip Neri Church.–Photo by David Greene

Antoneta Pepushaj, an 8th grade student at the school added, “I think the mass brought together the students and the police officers, so we know how important it is for the police officers to be in our community and it’s very important to have this mass.”

Despite overall crime down in the area, Robert O’Shea, a Bedford Park resident recently stated, “I would not go out after 8 o’clock anymore. It’s that bad.”

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