News from The Roanoke Times -Prayers for protection mingle with gratitude for public safety

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News from The Roanoke Times -Prayers for protection mingle with gratitude for public safety:
Prayers for protection mingle with gratitude for public safety

Roanoke police Sgt. David Boyer said he’d heard of cities holding similar Masses and decided to organize one.

David Harrison
The Roanoke Times

Trooper Dave Purcell left his radio in the car and his dog at home but wore his crisp Virginia State Police canine unit uniform to St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church Wednesday evening.

He was not alone.

The church held a special service — known as a “Blue Mass” — Wednesday to thank police, fire and rescue workers for their work and to pray for their continued safety, as well as to honor those emergency workers who have died in the line of duty. It was the first such service to be held in the Roanoke Valley but many of those present said they hoped it would become an annual tradition.

“It’s nice to know that you are still appreciated. Sometimes it feels lonely,” said Purcell, who had kept his pager with him but had switched it to vibrate, even though, he added, “I wasn’t going to go anywhere.”

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I was fortunate enough to have gone to the Blue Mass. It was a great opportunity for Police Officers, Firefighters, and Emergency Services Personnel to be praised for the job we do. Monsignor Thomas Miller delivered an excellent Homily talking of why we do what we do and that it is a calling as opposed to a job. I think he hit the nail on the head. Most of us would not do what we do if we did not have that calling, that need to help people, that sense of family while we are at work.

If you are able to see the printed Roanoke Times you will see a picture of sergeant David Boyer and myself. Sgt. Boyer was the Mass coordinator, as a member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Andrews, as well as reading the First Reading. I read the Second Reading, and I thought I did a pretty good job. You all would have been proud. Unfortunately there were not too many Firefighters there. I would give you an exact count but it is kind of embarrassing.

If you weren’t there then you missed Warpipe, Roanoke’s Premier pipes and drum band, they were amazing. It was great to here the pipes and drums resounding inside of the Cathedral ceilings of St. Andrews Catholic Church. If you have a chance to hear them play I would make every attempt to be there.

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