METUCHEN — The Woodbridge Police Department will host the 16th annual Blue Mass that honors law enforcement personnel who live and work in the four counties of the Diocese of Metuchen.
“Woodbridge Police officers and staff have attended the Blue Mass every year and are deeply honored to serve as host to our fellow law enforcement agencies and officers,” Woodbridge Police Director Robert Hubner said. “In this very difficult time in the history of policing and law enforcement in this nation, the Blue Mass serves as the most significant congregation through which we honor and remember the everyday sacrifices made by those who serve and protect our communities.”
As host agency, Hubner said the department is proud to post officers as the main honor guard in the pre-liturgy ceremony. Additionally, Woodbridge officers will take on other roles during the Mass, such as serving as cross and candle bearers, readers and gift bearers.
Hundreds of local, county, state and federal law enforcement personnel of all faiths will be recognized for their faithful commitment and self-sacrifice at the Blue Mass at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 12 at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Ave.
Bishop James F. Checchio will preside at the Mass, joined by priests from the diocese who will jointly officiate the Mass to honor law enforcement personnel who live and work in the four counties of the diocese — Middlesex, Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren.
“As a diocese we are unceasingly appreciative of the courageous work our uniformed men and women display in the pursuit of justice,” Checchio said.
Checchio said in the midst of difficult times, he is heartened by the work of law enforcement personnel.
“[Police officers are] often called upon to advance peace in our communities, as they serve the common good,” he said.
In keeping with tradition from past years, the names of those who have died in the line of duty since the inception of the Blue Mass will be read as a bell tolls to commemorate their memory and sacrifice.
This year, along with remembering fallen brethren from past years, the diocese will pay special tribute to Police Detective Matthew Tarentino, 29, who lost his life in the line of duty in May 2017.
Tarentino was a lifelong resident of Somerville and served with the Summit Police Department since 2012. He was killed in a car accident while driving to work.
In the Diocese of Metuchen, Tarentino was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Somerville.
Also, he attended Immaculate Conception School where he later served as president of the Advisory Council and attended Immaculata High School, both of Somerville.
The Mass will include bagpipes and drums, TAPS and a 21-gun salute. After Mass there will be a State Police aircraft flyover as Checchio blesses and reviews officers outside the Cathedral.
A lunch reception will follow immediately afterward in the community room beneath the church.
For more information, visit www.diometuchen.org/2017-blue-mass or call 732-562-2463.