Facing the vehicle of a fleeing suspect coming at them, two area police officers fired shots at the man Aug. 31 out of concern for their safety and that of others.
“When you’re out there doing your job, you never know what you’re going to be facing,” said Eau Claire police Lt. Derek Thomas, a 19-year law enforcement veteran.
Knowing that, the Rev. Brian Jazdzewski, the new pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus-St. Patrick Catholic Church, wanted to do something to recognize the “people who put their lives on the line in our times of need,” said Liz Wilson, parish director of music and liturgy.
That something is the church’s first ecumenical Red, White and Blue Prayer Service planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 322 Fulton St., with a reception to follow.
And it’s no accident the event is on the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, Wilson said.
The prayer service is an opportunity to seek the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit for the people represented by the following:
• Red: Those who seek justice — attorneys, judges, government officials and support staff in legal matters.
• White: Those who work in health care — doctors, nurses and others.
• Blue: Those engaged in public safety — firefighters, first responders and police officers.
“I think this is really needed,” said Michelle Bowe, parish director of religious education, noting Jazdzewski did something similar at other churches.
To promote the event, the church, which has parishioners in all groups, sent out more than 100 posters, Bowe said.
“We want people of all faiths to attend,” she said.
Hearing about the prayer service, Thomas said, “We’re thankful for (church officials) thinking of our safety and appreciating what we do.”
Linda Marx, a registered nurse at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and member of Sacred Heart-St. Patrick, plans to attend the event.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I’m so glad Father suggested it,” she said. “It’s nice to include people in all those areas. Who (among us) can’t use extra prayers?”
It also won’t hurt to remember those first responders — emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police officers — who responded after two of four planes hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, were flown into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, Marx said.
Celebrating the accomplishments of specific professions with a Mass and naming it after a color isn’t new, Wilson said.
According to the National Catholic Register:
• The “Red Mass,” a Mass for people in law professions, was celebrated in 1245 in Paris. Red referred to the color of the robes judges and lawyers wore in Medieval times.
• The “White Mass” was promoted by the National Catholic Medical Association in the early 1930s, and the color refers to the gowns used by medical professionals.
• The first “Blue Mass” was celebrated in 1934 by the Rev. Thomas Dade in Washington, D.C., as part of his duties as chaplain of the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society.
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