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First responders honored at Blue Mass

Despite four LaGrange Fire Department trucks and multiple vehicles from local law enforcement in St. Peter’s Catholic Church’s parking lot Wednesday night, there was not an emergency at the church. Instead, a Blue Mass honoring all local law enforcement officers was held.

The front three rows of the church were filled with first responders from the LaGrange Police and Fire Departments, Troup County Sheriff’s Office and American Medical Response. 

The Blue Mass is an annual mass held throughout the United States. 

LaGrange Public Safety Chief Lou Dekmar read the first reading at the Mass.

Father Tim Gadziala, the church’s priest, said he chose the reading of Jesus being asleep in a boat during a storm because, like Jesus, first responders also must remain calm in emergency situations.

“Sometimes when bad things happen to people we wonder ‘where is Jesus, where is God in all of this?’ That’s true, we do that a lot. We question God, we question his existence. And all the while he’s very present in our lives. Every part of your life — the stormy times, as well as the nice times,” Gadziala said. “[God’s] present everywhere, not just exclusively the Catholic Church. In every faith, in every denomination, he’s in the human heart, especially through baptism.”

Gadziala also compared the first responders to watchmen and said he prays for first responders every time he hears sirens go by.

“Sometimes as the watchmen, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs you’re the ones who have to be calm watchmen,” Gadziala said. “You must be calm in our storms. There are lots of storms and an emergency can call you up tonight … You have to be the watchmen. You have to be the calm ones. You have to help sort out situations sometimes at the expense of your life, sometimes in the expense of scandals within the police around our country.”

During the Mass, Gadziala gave St. Michael the Archangel, the Catholic patron saint of police, prayers cards to all of the first responders. 

Dinner for the first responders was served after the Mass.