Archdiocese of Newark honors firefighters
Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick will celebrate the second annual Firefighters Mass at noon on Sunday, October 18, 1998 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark. The Mass will honor the work of firefighters in the Archdiocese. The Newark, Elizabeth and Westwood fire departments will be paid a special tribute for their roles in fighting fires in Catholic Churches and a school.
Archbishop McCarrick said the Mass "is a way to ask God to bless and protect all the men and women who risk their lives every day to unselfishly save others."
Vicar of Pastoral Life for the Archdiocese of Newark, Msgr. Louis Fimiani said, "it is an opportunity to recognize their bravery and valor and to thank them on behalf of the Archdiocese."
Msgr. Fimiani points out that while the fires at St. Casamir's Church, Newark, St. Patrick's Church, Elizabeth, and St. Andrew's School, Westwood, made headlines there are countless fires that occur, unnoticed by the media. "My own rectory at Blessed Sacrament burned several years back, before I was the pastor," he said, "and the damage was extensive. Things like that happen all the time."
"As a community, when it affects one of us it affects all of us," Fimiani added. The Westwood, Elizabeth and Newark fire departments will be honored along with surrounding communities that also responded to the fires, Msgr. Fimiani said.
Captain John Pracher, Newark Truck Co. 5, who along with Captain John Doll, Newark Engine Co. 5, coordinates the Mass said that Church fires are especially difficult to fight. "The open sanctuary and the sheer number of combustibles make it easy for a fire to spread."
Captain Pracher, a 5th generation firefighter for the City of Newark, said "its great to be recognized by the Archdiocese."
The Mass will honor paid profession, volunteer, and retired firefighters from throughout the Archdiocese. Firefighters, fire chaplains, friends, and family are invited to attend the Mass and lend their support.