LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston Police/PBA Local #263 Chaplain Father Francisco Mendonca recently returned to Livingston’s St. Philomena Church to celebrate our third annual "Blue Mass" in support of local police officers.

The mass was extended to all police officers, including past, present and future police officers, as well as their families and friends, who serve as their support systems.

Although Father Francisco was transferred to Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in New Providence in September, he continues to serve as a Livingston Police Chaplain and made special arrangements with Monsignor Robert Fuhrman to return to St. Philomena's this season offer this special mass.

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"It is very special for me to return to St. Phil's, which will always be my home, to honor the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us each and every day,” said Mendonca, who noted that this annual mass is offered not only to police officers, but to their family members, who “serve as their support systems and who sometimes experience the stressors of the job even more than the officers themselves."

This year’s Blue Mass was celebrated as part of the St. Philomena’s weekly 5 p.m. mass on Saturday with face masks and social-distancing protocols enforced throughout the evening.

During the Blue Mass, a special blessing was offered to police officers and their families, and congregants expressed their gratitude toward participating police officers with a standing ovation.

"This is now the third time that Father Francisco and I have worked together to plan this celebration, and each year it gets better and better,” said Det. Kevin Mullaney, who serves as liaison to the Livingston Police Chaplains. “The Livingston Police Department is extremely grateful for Father Francisco's dedication to us and to the Livingston Community."

Livingston Chief of Police Gary Marshuetz added that the annual Blue Mass “has become a very special yearly event” for the Livingston Police Department.

“It is no secret that this has been a difficult year for everyone,” he said. “It is nice that we could still come together safely and responsibly as a community to be there for each other and support each other."

Pictured above at this year's Blue Mass are:

Top Row (from left to right): Livingston Police Officer Andrew Danielsen, Detective Kevin Mullaney, Lieutenant Walter Writt and Sergeant Jose Antunes

Bottom Row (from left to right): Lieutenant Russell Mueller, Officer Steven Guzzi, Retired Lieutenant John "Jack" Hickey, Chief Gary Marshuetz, Police Chaplain Father Francisco Mendonca, Captain John Drumm and Captain Thomas Smith 

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