SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Immaculate Conception School hosted a “Blue Mass” Friday morning at Immaculate Conception R.C. Church to honor the men and women of law enforcement.
Father Charles Sabella presided at the mass, attended by all students and staff in the K-8th grade school, as well as 100 members of law enforcement, including Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
“I always appreciate the significance of Blue Masses because it is a reminder of the tremendous sacrifices that the men and women in law enforcement make in serving our communities,” Robertson said. It is a way to celebrate and thank these officers for what they do as well as thank the families of the officers because they too make sacrifices and provide support.
“It is also a stark reminder of some who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their communities, and that is something that should never be forgotten,” Robertson added. “Having my father, uncle, cousin and brother serve in law enforcement makes these ceremonies hit home all the more and I thank them and all the men and women who serve at home and abroad in keeping us safe.”
Dozens of uniformed police officers, from patrolmen to police chiefs participated in the mass, as well as plains clothes detectives. More than one dozen law enforcement agencies were represented, including Bernards, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Middlesex, Montgomery, North Brunswick, Raritan, Somerville, Summit and Upper Darby, Pa. police departments; the New Jersey State Police, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
The police sat in the first several rows of pews in front of the altar, intent on Rev. Sabella’s message to the students, which centered on the need for, and respect for authority.
The school band and choir performed several songs during the ceremony including “America the Beautiful,” “Bring forth the Kingdom,” “Blest Are They,” God Bless America,’ and “Proud to be an American.”
State Police Sergeant First Class Brad Teryek, along with his wife and two children, Adam and Sara, both students at the school, presented the gifts to Rev. Sabella prior to the celebration of Communion.
As the service began, Rev. Sabella asked the students, “Boys and girls, how many of you think you’d like to be a police officer?
Several hands were raised throughout the church.
“Maybe you want to pick out the uniform you like best,” he added.
“Everything rests on authority,” Rev. Sabella said. “The government must make laws; we rely on the men and women in uniform to enforce the law.
“When authority is not welcome, there’s going to be a problem. “We have an obligation to respect authority,” he continued.
“People who are willing to break the law are dangerous,” Rev. Sabella added, citing those who send text messages on their phones while driving.
The service concluded with school Principal Sister Mary C. Chapman, IHM, Ed.D handing out prayer cards to each police officer.
A reception was held in the school cafeteria afterwards, with Sister Chapman offering a prayer:
“Almighty God, Whose great power and eternal wisdom embraces the universe, watch over all policemen and law enforcement officers everywhere.
“Protect them from harm in the performance of their duty to stop crime and violence. We pray, help them keep our streets and homes safe. We commend them to Your loving care, because their duty is challenging; grant them strength and courage in their daily assignments.
“Dear God, protect these brave men and women. Grant them Your almighty protection, and unite them safely with their families after their duty has ended.”