After Pittsburgh, Catholic churches in New York turning to armed ushers, live shooter training

After Pittsburgh, Catholic churches in New York turning to armed ushers, live shooter training November 11, 2018

A sad sign of the times:

The power of prayer can now be measured by caliber.

While a Queens synagogue has hired a heat-packing, off-duty cop to protect its congregation on the Sabbath, Catholic churches have been taking live-shooter training and mulling armed ushers at Mass.

“It’s really all about survival,” said Elie Meskin, president of The Utopia Jewish Center in Fresh Meadows. “We are living in a crazy era. It’s frightening and we have to protect ourselves.”

…The New York Archdiocese has been quietly training its parishes in active-shooter response for months.

And Our Lady of Good Counsel Pastor Ambrose Madu told The Post his Staten Island parish will hold a meeting later this month to discuss whether the flock will reach out to off-duty cops to staff masses as ushers.

Said one Good Counsel parishioner: “In an ideal scenario, you want them to be ushers. They are walking the church. They are directing and seating the people … Our church has several entrances. They need to be watched.”

Father Gerald E. Murray, pastor of The Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan, said, “It’s a state of reality that there are parishioners who legally carry weapons and know how to use them, and so if they’re in the parish it’s a good idea to know who they are.”

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, said pastors have been empowered to urge police parishioners to shuffle their church-going schedules so every Mass is covered. “The pastors would do this privately, one on one. … The pastor knows his people,” he said. He said they “would not be serving in any particular role at the Mass other than attending.”

The recommendation was included in a January memo from Cardinal Dolan to pastors that rolled out a plan for 296 parishes to undergo live-shooter training.

In May, parishioners at Our Lady of Pity on Staten Island took part in a four-hour workshop where law enforcement officers taught them to use desks to block the doors in religious-ed classrooms and run zig-zag patterns in the parking lot, the Staten Island Advance reported.

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