Monday, September 9, 2013

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
 John Newton, English poet and clergyman, 1779
Outside and inside the stunning Historic St. Patrick's Church, downtown Toledo, which traces it's heritage to the early Irish community and now serves as a a special place to remember firefighters, adorned with a memorial altar and statue of St. Florian, the patron Saint of Firefighters.  Helmets on the altar, the (silver) fire bell, Toledo Firefighters Pipes and Drums. 

The bagpipes played the mournful song at the end of the 7th Annual Firefighters Mass at Historic St. Patrick Church in downtown Toledo. Amazing Grace.  A retired firefighter read the names of  those who have lost their lives to save others.  Another firefighter rang the Fire Bell (the last alarm) in solemn remembrance.

The church was filled with people who remembered that Toledo's own firefighters saved St. Patrick's itself from a horrible fire in September 1980, and then helped rebuild its tower.  We remembered first responders and firefighters killed on 9/11,those killed more recently in Arizona and Texas, and the hundreds of unsung heroes who don't make national headlines.

Among these is New York City's Firefighters Department (FDNY) Chaplain Father Mychal F. Judge, a Francisan priest, who was the first certified fatality of the 9/11 attacks.  "You do what God has called you to do.You get on that rig, you go out and do the job."  It was Father Judge's last homily, at a Mass for firefighters the day before 9/11.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound."

Mickey Mouse thanks a firefighter, iconic print
at the Toledo Firefighters Museum. The Museum has many supporters,
including Historic St. Patrick Church.
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