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Fairfield County First Responders Honored At Blue Mass In Norwalk

An Honor Guard made up of Knights of Columbus members from around Fairfield County march in procession at the Blue Mass in Norwalk honoring first responders. Photo Credit: Courtesy of George Ribellino
A large American flag hung from a Norwalk Ladder Company fire truck during the Blue Mass at St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk Photo Credit: Courtesy of George Ribellino

NORWALK, Conn. – Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport said many Americans have lost their way in terms of unity and sacrifice while speaking a recent mass in Norwalk for those who put their lives on the line every day.

More than 1,000 supporters, including the host council St. Matthew Knights of Columbus Council No. 14360, joined at the St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk last Sunday for the annual Diocesan Blue Mass.

“As time recedes, many of us have forgotten to do what Jesus asks us to do, but no the police, fire and EMS,” Caggiano said. “We gather to honor them today because they have never forgotten the meaning of 9/11.”

A Norwalk Ladder Company fire truck hanged a massive American flag outside the church, and police, firefighters and EMS workers from Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stratford, New Canaan and Ridgefield took a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks.

At the end of the mass, Caggiano and Monsignor Walter Orlowski of St. Matthew Parish presented certificates to this year’s honorees. The Rev. Charles Allen, special assistant to the president of Fairfield University and Blue Mass coordinator, read the citations from area police, fire and emergency chiefs who nominated them.

The final procession began with the flags of police, fire and emergency companies throughout Fairfield County and an Honor Guard provided by the Fairfield County Knights of Columbus. This is the second time in three years that the mass was held in Norwalk after St. Phillip Parish hosted the ceremony in 2013.

The St. Matthew Council had a high number of Fourth Degree members in the large Honor Guard on Sunday: George Ribellino, Scott Criscuolo, Anthony Armentano, Bill Berger, Scott Mazzo, Anthony Cossuto, AJ Cossuto, Bill Scholl, Mike Colaluca and Ed McGettigan who is also Assembly 100’s Faithful Navigator. Fellow fourth degree knights Dave McCarthy, Al Mathieu, Chris O’Connor, Hugo Moncayo, Peter Richter, George Uzwiak and Nick DeRosa helped usher and greet visitors and dignitaries into the church, including State Deputy Tom Vita and State Secretary John Macari.

“It was a wonderful and somber day at the same time,” said Ribellino. “My father-in-law was a Norwalk police officer and volunteer firefighter, so it’s extra special for me to be participate every year but this year in particular to be able to host the Blue Mass is an honor we at Council 14360 will never forget.”

The annual Blue Mass is sponsored by the Fairfield County Knights of Columbus and the Diocese of Bridgeport. It was started in 2002 by Bridgeport Knights Mike Basso, Angelo Fernandez and Herb Ramirez to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11. The diocese began helping out a few years later and it’s now a yearly tradition in Fairfield County.

"I want that thank Brother Knights Mike Basso, Angelo Fernandez and Herb Ramirez for their hard work in helping put together a beautiful tribute," said Ribellino

Knights of Columbus Saint Matthew Norwalk Council No. 14360 was founded in 2007 and performs fundraising and community outreach throughout the year, including its annual Macaroni and St Patrick Day Dinners, as well as lend assistance to Notre Dame Convalescent Home in Norwalk, Family & Children's Agency of Norwalk, All Saint Catholic School, Malta House and Fisher House.

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