September 13, 2017

‘Pink Mass’ for those affected by cancer to be held Saturday at St. Michael’s Cathedral

Staff report

People pray during the 2013 Pink Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield. (IObserve file photo/Rebecca Drake)


SPRINGFIELD – The seventh annual “Pink Mass,” held for all those affected by cancer, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Springfield.

The Mass is offered for those suffering from cancer, their family, friends and caregivers, and for those who have succumbed to the disease. The liturgy is sponsored by Celebration of Hope of Western Massachusetts, which raises funds for local organizations that serve cancer patients and survivors.

The first Pink Mass, held in 2011, was inspired by “the brave example of faith shown by Rosa Dell’Aera-Smith,” said former Springfield resident Terence Hegarty, who has helped organize and promote the Mass over the years. Hegarty, a former member of the Catholic Communications staff, is now editor of Living Faith Daily Catholic Devotions, published by Bayard, Inc. 

Dell’Aera-Smith was a founding member of Celebration of Hope and was diagnosed with cancer at age 44.

“Rosa was a Holy Cross (Springfield) parishioner who fought stage four breast cancer,” said Hegarty. Dell’Aera-Smith passed away in 2014.

Michael Rancitelli, the former music teacher at St. Michael’s Academy in Springfield, is pictured in Holy Cross Church. He died last January after battling cancer for 10 years. (IObserve photo/courtesy of St. Michael’s Academy)

During this year’s Mass, a special prayer intention will be included in the Prayers of the Faithful for the late Michael Rancitelli, who taught music at St. Michael’s Academy in Springfield and died last January after a 10-year battle with cancer. He was 63.

“Michael was a dedicated, hard-working teacher who instilled a love of singing within his students,” said Ann Dougal, principal of St. Michael’s Academy. “He truly believed that when you sing, you are praying to God twice.”

A reception, featuring entertainment by DJ Anthony Manzi, will follow the Sept. 16 Mass at the cathedral.