On Sunday, September 13 at a Mass designed to honor those who put their lives on the line every day with little fanfare, celebrant Bishop Frank Caggiano commented that sadly, many Americans have lost their way in terms of unity and sacrifice. “As time recedes, many of us have forgotten to do what Jesus asks us to do, but not the Police, Fire and EMS,” the bishop said. “We gather to honor them today because they have never forgotten the meaning of 9/11. “
Over 1,000 supporters, including the host council St Matthew Knights of Columbus Council #14360, joined together at St. Matthew Parish Sunday for the Annual Diocesan Blue Mass. With a Norwalk Ladder Company fire truck hanging a massive American flag outside the church, police, firefighters and EMS workers from towns such as Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stratford, New Canaan and Ridgefield took a moment to remember those who perished on September 11, 2001. At the end of Mass, the Bishop and Msgr. Walter Orlowski, Pastor of St. Matthew Parish, presented certificates to this year’s honorees, while Fr. 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 had each nominated individuals from their respective departments.
The final procession out of St. Matthew began with the flags of police, fire and emergency companies from throughout Fairfield County as well as an Honor Guard provided by the Fairfield County Knights of Columbus.
The Annual Blue Mass is sponsored by the Fairfield County Knights of Columbus and Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus. This is the second time in three years the Blue Mass was held in Norwalk, as St. Phillip Parish hosted the ceremony in 2013.
St Matthew Council 14360 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 Grand Knight George 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 9/11. 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 #14360 was founded in 2007. The council currently does many fundraising activities and community outreach throughout the year, including its annual Macaroni and St Patrick Day Dinners, as well as its assistance to Notre Dame Convalescent Home (Norwalk, CT), Family & Children’s Agency of Norwalk, All Saints Catholic School, Malta House and Fisher House.