Law enforcement, Cinnaminson communities remember State Trooper Sean Cullen
By Dubravka Cortese | Correspondent
Rain fell from grey skies on the long blue line that stood at attention March 14 outside St. Charles Borromeo Church in Cinnaminson to pay a final farewell salute to New Jersey State Trooper Sean Eamonn Cullen.
To see video of Father Alindogan's homily, click here.
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The officer, who died March 8 from injuries received after being struck by a passing car at the scene of an auto accident, was remembered and commended in prayer during a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated in his parish church. Trooper Cullen’s Catholic community welcomed an estimated 1,000 state troopers and law enforcement officials from across the state and beyond to support one another and honor the memory of their fallen brother.
The 31-year-old trooper was born in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to the U.S. with his parents, Eamonn and Deirdre, when he was three years old. He had been a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo for most of his life; his father was the parish and school maintenance supervisor.
Cullen, a two-year veteran of the State Police, was a member of Troop “A” and stationed at the Bellmawr and Buena Vista barracks. Prior to becoming a state trooper, he had been a member of the Westampton Police Department for two years. He had also served as a Class II officer for the Sea Isle City and Mount Holly police departments. Cullen was a 2003 graduate of Cinnaminson High School, had been an All American wrestler at Lycoming College and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame.
The accident took place on Route 295 in West Deptford March 7. In addition to his parents and siblings, Trooper Cullen leaves behind his fiancée, Aryn McCormick, and their 9-month-old son, Seamus Cullen.
Father Peter James Alindogan, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, returned home from a sabbatical overseas to celebrate the Mass. Bishop David O’Connell, C.M., was in attendance and Msgr James Dubell, temporary parish administrator, was among the priest concelebrants.
In his homily, Father Alindogan urged those gathered to be comforted in the knowledge that they will one day be with Officer Cullen again. Stressing the importance of trusting in God even in the face of such a tragedy, Father Alindogan said, “Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to believe in a God who answers our questions right now with a person, Jesus, the Christ,” Father Alindogan said. “Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be helpless and dependent on a God we cannot see, on a loving God we cannot understand.”
“The God we all believe in is the same God who sacrificed his only Son. Jesus, whom we all believed in, also faced a tragic death at the prime of his life, on Good Friday. But it did not end there,” Father Alindogan said. “Easter Sunday happened. He rose again from the dead. And because he is risen, all the dead will rise with him someday.”
Before the Mass, Cullen’s younger brother, Matthew, and sister, Jennifer, spoke fondly of what it was like growing up Cullen and being a sibling of Sean. They emphasized how important family was to Sean, and his devotion to Seamus.
Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the State Police, praised the trooper’s work ethic, explaining that Cullen’s longtime dream of becoming a state trooper gained more significance after his older brother, Garrett, joined the force in 2005. Trooper Cullen’s brother-in-law is a Philadelphia fire fighter and his fiancée’s brother was a state police classmate.
Members of the Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold, the New Jersey State Police pipe band, performed during the Mass and along the funeral procession route, providing a fitting Celtic tribute to a native Irish son.
A color guard salute stood watch over the funeral procession as it made its way past the long line of fellow officers on the way to Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson, where Trooper Cullen was laid to rest.