Religions and Spirituality

Auxiliary Catholic Bishop of Newark Assaulted During Mass in Cathedral

1ab2737fb3cc411195b8_Cruz1200x800.jpg
The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark.
1ab2737fb3cc411195b8_Cruz1200x800.jpg

A day meant to venerate a hero of Newark's Latino community ended in shock and horror when an auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark was punched in the face during Mass at Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. 

The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, was offering opening prayers at a Saturday afternoon service commemorating the life of baseball great Roberto Clemente, remembered by Latinos in Newark, especially those from his native Puerto Rico, for his tragic death in a plane crash en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. 

The sanctity of the mass was shattered when a man wearing a white robe over a red suit shambled up to the altar from the crowd, reached Bishop Cruz and struck the 63-year-old in the face, knocking him backwards until he fell on the altar. 

Sign Up for E-News

TAPintoNewark witnessed the assailant's apprehension after several Essex County's Sheriff's police officers ran onto the altar and handcuffed the man. One officer at the scene who saw Cruz after he was struck commented to another officer that several of the bishop's teeth had been loosened in the attack. 

The Essex County's Sheriff's Officers at the scene soon cleared the cathedral in order to investigate the crime scene, telling TAPintoNewark that no further information was immediately available because of the ongoing criminal investigation. 

However, several of the officers swarmed around a classic purple Cadillac Eldorado parked immediately in front of the cathedral. The car, which has a faux-zebra skin interior and New Jersey license plates, also has a residential parking permit for Foster Street, in Newark's South Ward, attached to the driver's rear view mirror. 

"We're surprised and saddened by this, and we're very thankful that law enforcement was able to apprehend the assailant," said Jim Goodness, spokesman for the Newark Archdiocese. "Bishop Cruz is receiving excellent care."

Inside the cathedral immediately after the attack, the shock of the assault stunned the crowd. Many in the pews ducked when Cruz was first struck, not knowing what further to expect from the assailant. Others among the approximately 75 people assembled stood and screamed. 

The mass was organized by Newark Councilman-at-large Luis Quintana and sponsored by the Mayor Ras Baraka and the City Council.

"We are all praying for Bishop Cruz," Quintana said. "It's hard understand what would provoke a man to attack a member of the clergy within the sanctity of a church. It just doesn't make any sense."

Quintana, visibly shaken and in tears, told the crowd that the mass honoring Clemente would be held the next day at the Sunday 12:30 pm Mass at nearby St. Lucy's Church, blocks away from the cathedral. 

North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr., who was attending the mass and witnessed the assault, said parishioners were terrified.

"This is truly one of the most shocking and disturbing things I have seen," Ramos said. "For a bishop to get attacked while conducting opening prayers during a mass honoring the humanitarian Roberto Clemente is horrendous."

Another woman in the crowd, clenching her hands together in prayer, called out to the assailant as he was marched away in handcuffs.

"I will pray for your dark soul, but this is evil," the woman cried out. "This can't happen here. This is a house of God." 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Cranford

Athlete of the Week: Ryan Malko & Hanna Capone

February 6, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – Following leading performances in track and field and ice hockey, Hanna Capone and Ryan Malko are Cranford High School’s Athletes of the Week.

Capone, a junior on the winter track team, recently earned the North II, Group III sectional title in the pole vault with a height of 9 ft. 3 inches, her personal best.

“I’m motivated by my personal ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

February 13, 2018

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Cranford Endorses Colleen Mahr

February 19, 2018

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations--Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is beyond reproach.

Wardlaw+Hartridge Senior Signs National Letter of Intent

February 18, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- Mia Reyes of Piscataway, a senior at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, has made it official: she will continue her soccer career at Haverford College next year.

The Wardlaw+Hartridge soccer star signed her official national letter of intent at a press conference with family, friends and coaches in attendance on Feb. 14. Mia, who will graduate with 30 goals and a W+H record ...

Cranford Police Blotter: Multiple Drug-Related Arrests & More

February 20, 2018

The information provided does not represent the total scope of police activity. Individuals charged as a result of police investigations are merely an accusation. All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

1. 02/14/2018 @ 2226 hrs.

Raritan Road and Coleman Avenue

Arrested: Kevin Johnson, 60, Plainfield

Arrested by: Jason D’Agostino

Charges: Possession of ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

The Cranford Hotel (hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church), Cranford

Beer & Bible

Religions And Spirituality

Thu, February 22, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Calvary Lutheran Church Invites You to Mid-Week ...

Religions And Spirituality

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...