Parishioners of St. James Church, Seaford, gathered for a special Holy Hour Thursday evening, July 30, to pray for active and retired law enforcement personnel and other first responders, locally and nationwide. Father John Derasmo, St. James’ pastor, presided at the service and was assisted by Deacon John Horn, a retired New York City police officer.

Deacon Horn proclaimed the Gospel, delivered the homily and read the general intercessions.

Many members of the parish serve or have served in New York City and on Long Island as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

“It was an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ and to pray for them,” said Father Derasmo. “They deserve our prayers.”

Included in the petitions were prayers for two St. James parishioners who died in the line of duty, NYPD officers Edward Byrne, in 1988, and Brian Moore, in 2015.

Extended periods of silence allowed participants ample time to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, which was contained in an ornate monstrance on the altar.

Mindful of the national civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May, Father Derasmo also spoke about the sin of racism as he addressed the congregation at the beginning of the service. Prayers seeking the elimination of racism in all its forms—in the nation, in the church and in people’s hearts—were included in the prayer of the faithful.

Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz. Additional photos on the Diocese of Rockville Centre Facebook page.