Religions and Spirituality

Auxiliary Catholic Bishop of Newark Assaulted During Mass in Cathedral

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

NEWARK, NJ - 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 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

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Police Blotter

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

March 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Middlesex Democrats Endorse Menendez, Pallone, Watson Coleman, Rios and Narra

METUCHEN - The Middlesex County Democratic Organization today endorsed Robert Menendez for Senate, Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Freeholder Director Ronald Rios and Freeholder Shanti Narra for the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  Over 300 committee people came out to participate in the convention. 

“From Washington to New ...

Nationally Recognized Golf Management Firm Billy Casper Golf to Oversee Three Middlesex County Golf Courses

CRANBURY - The Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) has selected innovative golf management firm Billy Casper Golf (BCG) to manage clubhouse operations at Middlesex County’s three golf courses in north central New Jersey.

One of the largest privately-owned golf course management companies in the U.S., BCG will use its proprietary staff training, marketing and other ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...


March 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Republican congressional candidate Daryl Kipnis For Congress Campaign Kickoff Reception

Come enjoy an evening on Farrington Lake in North Brunswick in support of the effort to elect Daryl in NJ’s 12th Congressional District and send A Force For Freedom to Washington.

*Dinner & Open Bar*

7-9 p.m.

Monday, April 9th, 2018
130 Washington Place
North Brunswick, 08902

$100 Ticket Price
$250 Silver Sponsor
$500 Gold Sponsor
$1,000 Platinum Sponsor
$2,700 ...

Celebrate National Ag Day at the Middlesex County EARTH Center

EARTH CENTER, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from agriculture. That is why America’s farmers and their crops are celebrated each year on National Ag Day, which falls this year on March 20.


To honor this day, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County has planned a new seminar entitled The State of ...