About The Corps

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
House of Representatives
State House, Boston 02133-1054
HAROLD P. NAUGHTON, JR.
12TH DISTRICT WORCESTER

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the Massachusetts Corps of Fire Chaplains throughout my legislative career. Through the years, I’ve seen first-hand the invaluable services provided for firefighters and their families across the Commonwealth.

The capacity of Fire Chaplains as both spiritual leaders and counselors gives the Massachusetts firefighting community a critical safety net when crises and tragedies inevitably occur. Chaplains’ expertise in critical stress management ensures that our state’s bravest men and women are provided with professional resources when dealing with trauma and loss.

It’s hard to effectively convey the importance of the MCFC. Their work has had a profoundly positive effect on the Massachusetts firefighting community and our Chaplains have undoubtedly saved the lives and raised the spirits of firefighters across the Commonwealth. Having observed and benefited from the work of the Army Chaplains in deployed situations, I don’t believe I’m exaggerating to say that the job of our first responders would be immensely more difficult without this support.

Sincerely,

Harold P. Naughton, Jr.
State Representative, 12th Worcester District
House Chairman, Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security


In a recent interview, retired Fall River Fire Department captain and assistant city fire marshal, Maurice Reney, told a story of the first time he encountered Fire Chaplain Msgr. Harrington who recently died after fighting a long battle with lung disease:

“I was going to St. Vincent’s Camp one summer when I was 11. My dad, who was a Fall River firefighter died the previous November. There was a long line at the mess hall, and I saw Father Harrington talking to each child in line. He would ask a few what their father did for a living, and I was so afraid he would ask me. “He did, and I started crying. Msgr. Harrington remembered my dad and immediately he started to horse around with us in line until we were all laughing and I felt better.”

Reney said members of the Department were especially grateful for his presence on fire scenes. “I can remember him consoling people who had just lost everything,” said Reney. “And he privately counseled more than one firefighter, whether Spiritually or personally over the years. He always knew to say the right thing at the right time.”


How it All Began…

On January 21, 1999 a Steering Committee of Fire Department Chaplains who were members of the Federation of Fire Chaplains or who had been recommended by their Chiefs met at the Department of Fire Services in Stow, Massachusetts and determined to form an Association of Fire Chaplains.  State Fire Marshal Stephan Coan provided important encouragement and support to this process.  He saw the vision of an Association of Chaplains to call upon for support and made his office and Fire Academy available as a resource.  Incorporation in the Commonwealth was approved by the Secretary of State in August and on October 21, 1999 the formal Inauguration was hosted by the Marshal at the Fire Academy.


Chaplains Respond…

Chaplains respond to the scene and assist fire personnel and civilians at their time of need.  Most Massachusetts Fire Chaplains are on call 24/7 and provide support on the fire ground, at automobile collisions, mass casualty incidents and at other critical calls.


Chaplains Train…

Chaplains enjoy many opportunities for training and skill work!


Some History…

On December 3, 1999 one of the worst fire disasters ever to occur in the Commonwealth took the lives of six Firefighters at the Worcester Cold Storage Building in Worcester.  Members of the Mass. Corps of Fire Chaplains were on scene every hour of every day from the time the six were lost through the final prayer of the last funeral.


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On September 11, 2001 the Corps deployed 28 Chaplains to the Ground Zero in New York City at the request of the International Association of Firefighters and served there for five weeks.

“In December of 1999, I was called to the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, where six fire fighters lost their lives. And on September, (16th – 23 rd returning again at the end of October for three more days) I was deployed to New York under the direction of the International Association of Fire Fighters, through the Massachusetts Fire Service Department and State Fire Marshall. I and twenty-seven other Chaplains from Massachusetts provided various services to victims, families, fire fighters, police and other rescue workers. 

Fire Chaplain Susan Suchocki Brown
Chaplain with the Leominster Fire Department

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Their efforts were recognized by the Governor and Marshal Coan with the presentation of a special award at the Annual Firefighter of the Year Ceremony on December 4, 2001.

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A thought from The Catholic Fire Chaplains who are members of the FFC.

“As we approach that dreadful and tragic day in the fire service when so many of our nation’s firefighters, police officers and our own chaplain friend, Fr. Mychal Judge, died let us continue to  remember them all in our thoughts and prayers.  Many of them were  our friends and we indeed miss them, but they have left a part of themselves in the lives of each one of us.

May they all rest in peace in the hands of our loving God!”


Chaplains responded to the 2011 New England tornado outbreak which occurred on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Massachusetts’ Connecticut River Valley and also in southern Maine, devastating sections of the large city of Springfield, Massachusetts and its surrounding region. Although the vast majority of damage occurred in the Connecticut River Valley, the tornado outbreak spawned 7 tornadoes across New England, affecting both Massachusetts and Maine.