At a Memorial Mass for NYPD victims of the coronavirus, Cardinal Dolan said the gathering was offered for the department’s dedicated men and women “who succumbed to Covid over the last seven months. The police force continues to mourn them…We pray for their souls.”
A total of 46 police officers and civilian employees were honored during the Oct. 5 morning liturgy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“Sometimes we’re together for such happy occasions, like the Holy Name Mass…and some of your weddings,” Cardinal Dolan said in his homily.
“But sometimes we are united for less happy occasions,” the cardinal added, noting Funerals Masses for officers “who have fallen in the line of duty…We love you all very much. We deeply appreciate and honor your profession.”
The cardinal said the archdiocese also holds in prayer the loved ones of the coronavirus victims, as well as their fellow officers and co-workers.
Cardinal Dolan spoke of the importance of faith and hope exemplified in the Scripture readings at the Mass. The cardinal made remarks about several saints and angels, including St. Michael the Archangel, “the police officer of heaven, the patron saint of police.”
The Mass began and ended with bagpipe processions. About 450 people attended, mostly family members and colleagues of the victims. There were several concelebrants, including Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Near the end of Mass, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea expressed remarks of condolences to the loved ones of the victims, as well as gratitude for their service and dedication.
The cardinal blessed archdiocesan Guardian Angel medallions later distributed to the victims’ families.
During the Prayer of the Faithful, the names of the 46 Covid-19 victims were read as they appeared in alphabetical order in the Mass program, from Det. Raymond C. Abear to school safety agent Sharon R. Williams.
“I’m very thankful (for the Memorial Mass). She was a special person,” her sister, Veronica Williams, told Catholic New York after the liturgy, amid bagpipe music as she stood within a pew near the back of the cathedral, looking toward the altar. She said her sister, who served in Brooklyn, had died in April.
Mayor de Blasio spoke about the importance of the Memorial Mass, and the dedicated service of the victims, including Chief William T. Morris, “who I got to know first when he was chief of Manhattan South.”
The mayor told the cardinal, “Thank you for what you said, because we all need that comfort…Today, we honor 46 good and brave New Yorkers. Forty-six men and women, uniformed and civilian, who gave so much to this city; they answered that call to higher service…All of you, we mourn with you and we stand with you.”
Commissioner Shea spoke of the NYPD’s 175 years of service, tradition and sacrifice, and how the victims exemplified these virtues. He told those in the pews, on behalf of the entire Police Department, “I extend to you my most profound condolences…We will forge ahead. We will persevere.”
“Ave Maria” was sung by Police Officer Heather Austin of the NYPD Ceremonial Unit.