New York City, N.Y., Jan 28, 2022 / 16:24 pm (CNA).
NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was remembered on Friday as a dedicated police officer whose life was cut short in the line of duty.
“He lived his dream, although too short a time,” said Fr. Robert J. Abbatiello, O.F.M. Cap. during Rivera’s funeral Mass Jan. 28 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was the principal celebrant, and the Mass was concelebrated by NYPD chaplains.
Abbatiello, the homilist, knew the Rivera family when he was the pastor at Good Shepherd Parish in Inwood, New York.
Rivera, said Abbatiello, “made a difference” during his career with the NYPD, and was a “loving son who wanted to make his parents proud.” He was in his second year of service with the NYPD when he and his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, were fatally shot on Jan. 21. They were responding to a domestic disturbance.
Mora died on Jan. 25, after spending four days in the hospital in critical condition. Dolan made a visit to his bedside and prayed for him.
Mora’s funeral Mass will be celebrated next week, also at St. Patrick’s.
The child of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Rivera sought to improve the relationship between his community and the police. Abbatiello told Rivera’s parents that they could be “very proud of your son.”
“The sting of death is here,” he said. “Truth be told, we still haven’t made sense of their deaths.”
Thousands, including police officers from around the country, attended Rivera’s funeral.
Rivera married his childhood sweetheart, Dominique Luzuriaga, four months ago. She also spoke at the Mass, criticizing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his policies keeping criminals out of the jail system.
“The system continued to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service,” said Luzuriaga.
Speaking to her husband, she added, “I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”
Luzuriaga received applause.
Bragg issued a statement condemning violence against police officers, and pledging to “vigorously prosecute cases of violence against police and work to prevent senseless acts like this from ever happening again.”