MILLTOWN – The work of the apostles was, in a way, similar to the work done everyday by the first responders in the Diocese of Wilmington and elsewhere. That was the message conveyed by Bishop Malooly to the police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and others gathered at St. John the Beloved Church on May 6 for the annual Blue Mass celebrating their service.
Jesus knew the apostles’ work was “a high-risk venture” that often brought them grief, despair and sometimes martyrdom, the bishop said. But the apostles were present to the people, just as first responders are present in their communities, even when their work may not be appreciated.
“You bring about good and what is right in the community,” Bishop Malooly said. “I’m grateful for your care of all citizens.”
The Blue Mass has special meaning for the bishop. His uncle, J. Brady Murphy, was an FBI special agent who was killed in 1953 in Baltimore after a gunfight with a suspected murderer.
In addition to the first responders, students from the First State Military Academy and the Delaware Academy for Public Safety and Security were in attendance. Three students from FSMA brought up the gifts; one of them, Christopher Shea, is the son of a Delaware state trooper who was killed in 2004 when his patrol car was struck head on by an intoxicated driver near Milford.
Shea, who was 3 when his father died, said he also wants to be a state trooper.
Two people were recognized at the Mass for their service to the police in Delaware. Eleanor Allione is the president of COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors), which provides resources to surviving family members of officers killed in the line of duty. Her daughter, Frances Collender, was struck by a vehicle in 2001 while assisting a disabled motorist near Odessa.
The other was Michael Capriglione, the police chief of Newport. Capriglione, who was joined by his family, is the former chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council and has been a leader and instructor in law enforcement.