PATERSON, NJ – The pipes and drums, five clangs of the bell, and calling out of the memorial roll call gave today’s 10 a.m. mass at St. Gerard Majella’s R.C. Church a decidedly different tone than a typical Sunday morning worship service.

More than 150 firefighters, family, students and local residents joined together this morning to celebrate the Diocese of Paterson’s  third annual Fallen Firefighters Red Mass. As firefighters filled most of the pews, a number of clergy leaders, most notably Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, led those gathered through prayers and remembrances of firefighters from throughout the Diocese of Paterson, that have lost their lives in service to the community.

Bishop Serratelli told the firefighters attending the Mass, “the Diocese of Paterson is grateful for the great sacrifice you make, whatever role you play in firefighting. You protect human life and for that you are cooperating with God. It is God of Life who wills us into life from the first moment of our conception and calls us to eternal life when our life on earth has ended. You are in our prayers that you are kept safe and protected in the line of duty and we also pray for your families.”

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The Diocese of Paterson include Passaic, Morris and Sussex counties. 

The largest contingent came from the Paterson Fire Department who earlier this year lost one of their own when Firefighter Kerry Rivera died in an off-duty accident. 

“When we come together in the firehouse or respond to a call, our faith, whatever it may be, along with our trust in each other gives us an unbreakable bond,” stated Jerry Behnke, President, Paterson FMBA Local 2. “It is fitting that we also come together to celebrate the lives of those that made the ultimate sacrifice.” 


Editors Note: In the interest of transparency, the publisher of TAPinto Paterson also serves as a spokesman for Paterson FMBA Local 2.