NYPD Det. Wilbert Mora was remembered at his Feb. 2 Funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a “big teddy bear,” who loved serving the people of New York as a member of the New York City Police Department.
Cardinal Dolan was the principal celebrant of the morning liturgy attended by more than 2,000 people.
Mora, 27, and his partner, NYPD Det. Jason Rivera, 22, were shot as they responded to a domestic disturbance in Harlem Jan. 21. Rivera died from his injuries that evening, and Mora died Jan. 25. His organs were donated and would help five people in three states.
“I believe they are ultimately Christ’s words that no one has greater love than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends that inspired Wilbert Mora, who loved family, friends and the people of New York City, to promise to protect us with his life and when it seemed like he could not give more, through a most generous donation, offered to save more, even in his death,” said Father Joseph Franco, pastor of Our Lady of Angels parish in the Bronx and NYPD chaplain, in closing his homily.
“This morning we pray for officer Wilbert Mora as we do for officer Jason Rivera that with this Mass and through intercession of St. Michael the Archangel and our Blessed Mother Mary that God will mercifully and quickly take them both unto Himself to their eternal glory.”
Detective Mora, the youngest of four children, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic with his family.
“Everyone says you’re a big teddy bear of a man, but you were like that even when you were little,” said Wilson Mora, Wilbert’s brother and one of seven people to deliver eulogies. “Mom showered us with love, and you absorbed it like a sponge. As an adult, I saw your love for friends and for people come out in ways that others can’t. I love how close and loyal you were with your friends, and how much you value their friendships. People gravitated to you because they could lower their defenses and be themselves around you.
“We had so many plans together. We were supposed to travel and go camping and go on road trips. I wanted to experience the adventure with you because your love for life was infectious. I just want you to know that I was always proud of you. You chose a life of service to your community and to our adopted country. Your fellow officers were not only co-workers, they were friends and family, and now they’re my family.”
Det. Mora studied at John Jay College in Manhattan as he pursued his goal of becoming a police officer, which he realized in 2018.
“He was honored to serve and protect our city,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “He gave back to this country. He did it the way so many immigrants do every day with hard work, and commitment and dedication to be part of our American experience. He was proud to wear the blue uniform and serve the city of New York.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced that she posthumously promoted Mora to detective first-grade.
“Even through the tragedy of detectives Mora and Rivera, the NYPD will always believe in New York City and we know no matter how you refer to faith, the Mora family can hold within themselves the whole-hearted promise that the men and women of the NYPD, the daughters and sons of this city, will forever honor the sacrifice of their own, and we will humbly, unwavering and faithfully carry on the towering and enduring legacy of Detective First-Grade Wilbert Mora,” she said.
Following the Mass, thousands of police officers lined Fifth Avenue for the funeral procession. Det. Mora was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.
“Today we say goodbye to Wilbert, but we also thank him,” said Mayor Adams in addressing the NYPD officers in his eulogy. “The city thanks you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, and every day that I walk the streets of New York, the people of this city remind me: support our police and let them know we appreciate them. New Yorkers understand the risk and sacrifice you make every day, and we applaud you for that.
“Our city is going to do more than thank you, we are going to give you the resources to fight this violence. It is New Yorkers against the killers and we will not lose. We will protect our city.”
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