Annual Blue Mass offers prayers for law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency workers Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 23, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
blue mass
Area law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders gather at the annual Blue Mass at St. Bernard Church in Madison on May 9. Pictured from left, are: Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman, Madison Fire Department Assistant Chief Michael Popovich, and Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney. To view or purchase photos, go to www.madison catholicherald.smugmug.com (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- Real.

That is the word to describe the annual Blue Mass celebrated at St. Bernard Church in Madison on May 9.

Real, as in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Real, as in the job for the police, fire, and emergency personnel prayed for at this Mass is never done, as a few of them ran out during the “Our Father” to tend to someone who needed help in the church building.

Real, as in the comments spoke by the agency chiefs following Mass, asking everyone to reflect on the challenges these men and women go through.

Reflecting on service

University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman spoke about the mental issues law enforcement deal with and how it can affect them permanently.

“True courage is recognizing our humanity, our vulnerability, and speaking our true experience,” she said.

“We need to break the silence again and again.”

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney reflected on law enforcement who gave their lives in the line of duty, one day before the Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison and one week before National Police Week in Washington, D.C.

Speaking of the memorials both in the state and nation’s capital, Sheriff Mahoney said, “May we never forget that it bears the names of the men and women of law enforcement who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Bringing to light a forgotten group, he added, “There’s another group that needs remembering. That’s the spouses and the families of law enforcement and firefighters and paramedics. We knew what we were getting into when we signed up . . . they just go along for the ride.”

Thanking everyone who attended the Mass — both current police, fire, and emergency workers and retired ones, Sheriff Mahoney added, “We need all the help we can get.”

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval talked about the importance of faith in the life of an officer.

“For everyone who is going to go down this path, you have to have some dimension that helps you understand the frailty of life.”

“There is no greater calling than the nobility and the privilege of being servants,” Chief Koval said.

Caring for those who serve

Fr. Michael Radowicz, pastor of St. Bernard, celebrated the Mass, along with several priests from the Diocese of Madison.

Father Radowicz started Mass saying “In a special way, tonight, we honor all police, fire, EMS, and civil servants who daily place their lives upon the line for our safety.”

During his homily, he acknowledged the criticism these public servants face sometimes and said, “First responders make the best decisions that they possibly can with the help of the Holy Sprit, in the situation they find themselves in . . . health, safety, and the preservation of life are the top priority of those who keep us safe and they abide by those principles.”

Following the homily, Chief Roman and Madison Fire Department Assistant Chief Michael Popovich lit memorial candles in honor of those who have died in service to the community.