FAIRFIELD, NJ — More than 70 people attended the Fairfield Police Department prayer service sponsored by the Fairfield Knights of Columbus Council #6380 Thursday night in front of the newly renovated police station.
Dr. Lenny Russo, grand knight of the Fairfield chapter of the Knights of Columbus, welcomed everyone, saying that he hopes this prayer service will become an annual event. “We are fortunate to live in a community with a fantastic police department. In any good organization, success is brought about by strong leadership and excellent members," Russo said.
Russo said that Fairfield is fortunate in that its police department has the complete backing of its mayor and council. He stated, “As we can see in the news, this cannot be said in many towns, cities and states throughout our great union.”
Pastor of St. Thomas More Marek Chachlowski gave the invocation and also blessed the newly renovated police station. He said, “We are grateful for the gift of life and for all those who protect it, especially our police officers.”
Phil Oddo, one of the original members of the Fairfield Knights, past grand knight and past district deputy, led everyone in a prayer for police officers. Before the prayer, he thanked the police department for the quick response he received when he dislocated one of his two artificial hips. He said, “The police were there within minutes, and they brought me to Mountainside Hospital where the doctors repaired the problem.”
Steven Filipow led the people in a prayer for police families, which was very fitting, since Filipow’s father, Stephen, was once the township’s chief of police and his brother, Richard, also was on the Fairfield Police Department. The township’s public safety building is named after Chief Stephen J. Filipow.
A prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of police officers, was led by Dori Stellato Kryzsiak. Kryzsiak said that her husband is a police officer, and she gave St. Michael's prayer cards to everyone at the event.
After the prayer service, Fairfield Chief of Police Anthony Manna came to the podium to thank the Knights of Columbus and the mayor and council for their support. He stated that in the future, the department is planning to have an open house so that the township can see the state-of-the-art renovations made to the police building, which will better serve its citizens. Manna said, throughout the country, the police are under attack, but in Fairfield, he feels the love and support of the community.
"The officers and staff of the Fairfield Police Department cannot express in words our appreciation for the prayer service that took place last night that was organized by the Fairfield Knights of Columbus and attended by so many of our community," Manna said on Friday. "The safety of our officers, especially in today's climate, is always of paramount concern so prayers for their well-being are always welcome."
Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini told TAP, “Fairfield is a community, but more importantly, it is a family, and as a family, we want to support each other in prayer in these difficult times.”
Many residents came to the service to honor family members. Alexandra DiIorio, of Sidelines Bar and Grill, came not only to support Fairfield police, but to honor her uncle, who is a retired Bayonne police officer, and Nicole Donatiello Agurto, of Manhattan Bagel, came to support the Fairfield police for all that they do to protect the community.
Russo stated, “The Knights of Columbus work in conjunction with Catholic parishes throughout the world. We are fortunate to be working with our St. Thomas More parish for the last 55 years. The Knights of Columbus abide by the principles of charity, fraternity, patriotism and why we are here tonight, unity.”
Charles Digiore, representing the Knights, passed out rosaries to all the police officers.