The community of Gravesend gathered at Sts. Simon and Jude Roman Catholic Church on Sat., Sept. 29 to honor the New York Police Department on the Feast Day of Saint Michael the Archangel, patron saint of law enforcement.
The church, founded in 1897, is located at 295 Ave. T. Father John Maduri, administrator at Sts. Simon and Jude, was the main celebrant at the mass, along with Father Sijo George, Msgr. David Cassato of St. Athanasius Church and Msgr. Robert Romano of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Romano serves as chaplain at Fontbonne Hall Academy; both Monsignors are NYPD chaplains.
According to Christian doctrine, the Archangel Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors who battled Satan and is seen as a protector against evil forces.
“This is our third Annual NYPD Appreciation Mass and the original idea was to show community support and appreciation to the NYPD and law enforcement,” Patrick Dellamura, an organizer of the event told this paper. “This year, we decided to have a special collection for the NYPD’s ‘With Arms Wide Open Foundation,’ which supports police families who have children with special needs.”
Sixty-Second Precinct Commanding Officer Capt. Anthony Longobardi attended along officers from the 62nd Precinct. Blue lapel pins were distributed to honor the men and women in blue.
Particularly poignant was the presence of the parents of Detective Wenjian Liu, a Bensonhurst resident who was killed in 2014 while sitting in his police car, along with partner, Detective Rafael Ramos.
Daniel Sprague, retired pipe sergeant with the New York City Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, performed “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes as his son Owen stood by his side.
“This annual event is a win-win for all involved…the parish, the community, the NYPD and a great non-profit organization,” added Dellamura.
After mass, everyone was invited to enjoy a dessert reception in the church hall.