Keene police chief's funeral shows the regard of his community

Sunday News Correspondent
March 18. 2017 9:43PM
Hundreds of mourners came to St. Bernard Church in Keene on Friday for the funeral Mass of Keene Police Chief Brian Costa. (Meghan Pierce/Sunday News Correspondent)
KEENE — Hundreds of mourners, many in uniform, filled St. Bernard Church on Main Street on Friday to say goodbye to Keene Police Chief Brian Costa. 
“It was a healing service. It was really about Brian’s life and what a wonderful, wonderful person he was,” Keene Mayor Kendall Lane said after the Mass. “We need to go on, but he’ll always be part of us.”

The 46-year-old’s death was an apparent suicide at his home in Keene last week. He had been a police officer in the city since 1996 and police chief for the past two years.
During the service, St. Bernard pastor Steve Marcoux said Costa was the model of a police officer, police chief and coach — he was an active volunteer youth coach in the community.

The funeral Mass took place on St. Patrick’s Day, Costa’s favorite holiday, Marcoux said. Marcoux drew many comparisons between St. Patrick, a missionary, priests like himself and law enforcement like Costa. And at many times, Marcoux spoke directly to the many police officers in attendance.

“As Catholics we are called to bless life and heal the world,” Marcoux said, it is a mission similar to that of police and fire personnel, he said.

This was Costa’s mission, he said, “as a police officer, as chief of police, repairing the world is wonderful, particularly trying to rid Keene of drugs and all that goes along with law enforcement and his purpose to keep Keene clean.”

Marcoux added, “We need to remember to bless the life around us and the life within us.”

Costa’s brother Richard L. Leslie of Foxboro, Mass., also spoke about his brother at the end of the service.

Leslie said Costa was one of five children who grew up in a turbulent home that moved between Florida and Massachusetts and included time spent in a foster home. Costa grew into a man with a deep call to service and a great desire to have family of his own. He loved his wife, Katherine, and his three children very much, Leslie said.

“He was always there to help somebody in need,” Leslie said. “But was unable to reach out when he needed it.”

Before the final prayer, Marcoux encouraged police to reach out for help when they need it.

“Like priests, sometimes we feel we have nobody to talk to,” Marcoux said.

The Mass concluded with the singing of “The Irish Blessing.”

Following the funeral, Costa was taken to Mountain View Cemetery for burial.

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