Cardinal Dolan, in a homily he offered earlier this month at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, remembered NYPD officers who have lost their lives to suicide in recent months and offered consolation to the family members, friends and colleagues who mourn them.
“On behalf of the Catholic family of the archdiocese, we love you and pray with and for you and the ones for whom you rightly continue to mourn,” said Cardinal Dolan in his homily at the 10:15 a.m. Mass Sunday, Oct. 13.
Commissioner James O’Neill, Chief of Department Terence Monahan and many uniformed officers attended the liturgy. More than 100 family members also were present.
The “tragedy of suicide,” the cardinal explained, is “not limited to the New York Police Department,” but rather a cultural and societal issue that people across the nation and the world “are trying to grapple with and understand better.”
Ten members of the NYPD have killed themselves since this year, including one who died just two days after the cathedral Mass was offered.
“You’re not alone, folks,” Cardinal Dolan said. “This whole New York community has mourned with your grieving family and friends and colleagues in the department.
The cardinal said the officers and other NYPD officials “are very much at home here” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
He explained that no one knows the right words to use “when we hear about someone who has taken his or her life.”
The cardinal counseled family members and friends, and even people at their wits’ end, to turn to Jesus for assistance.
“One thing the experts who do study it have found is that those who do have some faith, however little, those who do have some reliance on prayer…those who worship at a church, a synagogue or a mosque are a little less likely to take their lives.
“The experts tell us that’s a bit of an indicator of something we can do to fight this crisis.”