WRENTHAM — Parishioners at St. Mary’s Church are praying for a congregant who suffered a heart attack during Mass Sunday and was resuscitated by fellow parishioners and emergency personnel.
The man, whose name and age were not available, was taken to a hospital in a Wrentham ambulance and was believed to have been transferred to a Boston hospital. His status Monday was not available.
The Rev. Joseph Mozer said the parishioner collapsed about 10 a.m. and at least three fellow parishioners, who are nurses, assisted in giving him CPR while head usher Armand Pepin called 911. A police officer arrived first with a portable defibrillator before firefighters arrived to take over emergency care, the pastor said.
“We were blessed because as the parishioner collapsed in the middle of the Mass there were at least three nurses in the congregation who assisted. It appeared he was having a cardiac arrest and they administered CPR,” Pastor Mozer said.
The Rev. Lambert Nieme, who was officiating the Mass, led parishioners in prayer and kept the congregation calm as the nurses and emergency personnel helped the stricken man.
“It was scary for people when they saw the emergency personnel come in and they knew it wasn’t somebody who only fainted,” Mozer said.
One of the nurses, Cynthia O’Brien, 55, a nurse for over 30 years, said she usually goes to Mass on Saturday but was busy at work at Milford Hospital so she attended on Sunday morning.
“I told my family I feel like God put me there on that day for a reason,” O’Brien said, adding that she does not know the man who collapsed.
She said she and two other nurses promptly gave the man CPR until the police officer arrived shortly after with the portable defibrillator. “In my opinion, that’s what really saved the man,” she said of the police officer with the medical device.
O’Brien said it was the first time she has had to give CPR to someone outside of work.
“A lot of people should learn how to perform CPR because it saves lives,” O’Brien said.
Mozer, who has been at the church for five years, said it was the first time someone has been stricken with such a serious medical condition. He said “it was a blessing the community responded well when someone was in need.”