The connection between St. Mary’s and the Lynn police and fire departments runs deep, with many alumni serving, including the police chief and firefighters union president. The school honored those affiliations and paid tribute to the invaluable service the police and fire departments provide at a Blue Mass Sunday at St. Mary’s Church.
“This was an opportunity for us to publicly show our deep appreciation for our police and firefighters,” said St. Mary’s Head of School Grace Cotter Regan. “Like everyone else who lives or works in Lynn, our students and staff benefit from the sacrifices these men and women make and their dedication to their job. We are honored to recognize that service.”
Members of the two departments gathered at the St. George Church parking lot and proceeded down South Common Street to St. Mary’s for the 11:30 a.m. Mass. which was celebrated by St. Mary’s Pastor Rev. Brian Flynn. There was a reception and light lunch served after Mass in the Tony Conigliaro Gym at St. Mary’s High School.
The police contingent was led by Chief Kevin Coppinger, St. Mary’s Class of 1975, Deputy Chief Michael Mageary and bag piper Ned Shinnick.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the school and the parish, especially in this day and age when police are scrutinized so carefully throughout the nation,” Coppinger said. “I take pride in our department and how we interact with the community. This Mass is a message to police officers that our efforts are appreciated and respected and it goes a long way in solidifying the partnerships we have in the community.”
Fire Chief James McDonald said his department is grateful for the gesture by St. Mary’s.
“St. Mary’s has always reached out to us and been very supportive,” he said. “We appreciate that. It’s nice to have that relationship with the school and the parish.”
Lynn Firefighters Union president Matt Reddy, a 1987 St. Mary’s graduate, said firefighters don’t seek out recognition but are very grateful.
“We’re thankful for what St. Mary’s is doing for us,” Reddy said. “It’s humbling whenever anyone recognizes us. I think the world of the school. My five best friends in life are St. Mary’s grads and my two boys go there. St. Mary’s is a family to us.”
Parents of St. Mary’s students who work in police and fire departments other than Lynn were also invited to Sunday’s Mass. St. Mary’s previously held separate appreciation dinners for the police and fire departments but decided to combine the two and incorporate a Mass into the recognition event.