Monsignor Robert J. Romano Video Homily
By Ryan Blessing
Photos by Annette Hanrahan
The Reverend Monsignor Robert J. Romano was at Ground Zero in New York City on a daily basis, ministering to the needs of police officers immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Some people say 9/11 is over, that it’s history and happened 18 years ago,” Monsignor Romano, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Brooklyn, New York and NYPD Chaplain since 1998, said in his homily during the Diocese of Norwich's 29th annual Blue Mass on September 22nd at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich.
“I’m here to tell you that it’s not over. It’s alive and well because of the people we have lost subsequently since 9/11.”
That includes a total of 220 police, firefighters and others who helped recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the months afterward.
Police from Norwich, Groton, Hartford and as far as New York City were among those who attended the Blue Mass. The Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, was the celebrant.
Monsignor Romano said that when he talks with law enforcement recruits preparing to graduate from their training academies, he tells them their job is a vocation.
“Your vocation is a very simple one. That is, to bring good to people – the good of the law – and to help them.”
The annual Blue Mass, he said, is a support to their fellow officers.
“And it is wonderful that Bishop Cote and all of you here remembers law enforcement officers every year, to remind them that they do live a vocation.”
The Mass also paid tribute to the 27 Connecticut police officers who have died in the line of duty since 1991. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the line of duty death of officer Brian Aselton, of the East Hartford Police Department.
The Honor Guard bearing national, state and departmental flags included members of the Norwich and East Hartford Police Departments, as well as the Connecticut Department of Correction Pipes and Drum Corps.
The Blue Mass has its roots in the 1970s, when St. Michael Parish in Pawcatuck celebrated a special Mass for Stonington police officers.
A committee of diocesan priests planned a Mass for law enforcement officers in 1991, which began the current annual tradition. Over the years, the committee has grown to include representatives of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.
The honorary chairperson of this year’s Mass was Naval Criminal Investigation Service Special Agent Leo Barron (1932-2019), a dedicated member of the Blue Mass Committee for more than 20 years.