A flower arrangement inside St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Church in Hanover pays tribute to Sgt. Chesna July 19. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
HANOVER -- Fallen Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna was laid to rest July 20 following a Funeral Mass celebrated at St. Mary of the Sacred Heart in Hanover where he was remembered a loving husband and father, an avid sports fan and a faithful public servant.
While friends, relatives, fellow Weymouth officers and political dignitaries packed the church, thousands of officers from departments across the country stood at attention outside.
During the Mass, Chesna's brother-in-law, Joseph Comperchio, a captain with the Weymouth Police Department, read from a letter Chesna wrote during his time in the police academy.
"I could be told to write parking tickets for the next 30 years and I would be happy. I feel that being a police officer will allow me to have a positive impact on the many lives and people I protect. I really look forward to being able to help those in need, to be seen as a positive member of society," the letter said.
After reading the passage, Comperchio said, "Mike has done just what he set out to do. He has helped countless people as a police officer, and has impacted the lives of everyone who met him. I am proud to be part of this police brotherhood."
"They are the true heroes of our society," he added.
Comperchio then read a statement on behalf of Chesna's wife, Cynthia Chesna. In it, she promised, "I will make sure the kids know how great you are and how fortunate I was to have you in my life." She added that she would raise their son Jack, 4, to love the same sports and be a collector like Chesna, and have their daughter Olivia, 9, continue to attend Comic-Con shows as she and Chesna had loved to do.
The pastor of St. Mary's, Father Chris Hickey, who was a police cadet for three years and is now chaplain for the Hanover Police Department, was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass.
"I hope that staying close to God will be your companion on the journey," Father Hickey said and encouraged all in attendance to pray for the Chesna family and keep their memories of Chesna alive in what they say and do.
Though unable to be present, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley had presided at the Rite of Reception held at the church the previous day, during which he prayed with the family and offered words of comfort. Retired Auxiliary Bishop John Dooher presided and represented the cardinal at the Funeral Mass.
Following the funeral, Sgt. Chesna was buried at Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree.
Chesna, 42, was a native of Weymouth and resident of Hanover. He was a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient who had served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the Army after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and knew it would help him fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a policeman.
He played in a weekly men's basketball league and loved all Boston area sports teams, particularly the Patriots.
Chesna was killed July 15 near the end of his overnight shift while investigating reports of an erratic driver and a car crash.
The man suspected of killing him, Emmanuel Lopes, threw a large rock at the officer, grabbed his gun and repeatedly shot him with it, police said. Lopes also is charged with killing a 77-year-old bystander, Vera Adams.