Special Blue Mass offers prayers for law enforcement officers

MILWAUKEE -- Law enforcement officers from around Milwaukee gathered Monday night on the south side for a special service involving prayers for those who make it their duty to protect our safety.

Over the past four years, the Milwaukee Police Department says seven of their officers have been shot in the line of duty. While officers train to minimize that risk, many looked for the kind of protection not taught in class, at the Blue Mass Monday night.

The church music echoed inside the Basillica of St. Josaphat Monday night, and the service held special meaning for those in attendance. The Blue Mass is a special Mass blessing Milwaukee police officers and sheriff's deputies from across Milwaukee County. It's a Mass Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has a personal connection with. "Many of my classmates going through the Seminary, those who did not go on to the priesthood, many of them went into law
enforcement," Listecki said.

"Both of our professions must have some type of fundamental commitment to justice, and a deep belief in the dignity of man," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said at the Mass. Flynn and dozens of law enforcement officers received blessings, many praying for the kind of protection a bullet-proof vest can't offer.

This past year, a handful of officers on bicycles and some in squad cars were hurt while on the job. FOX6 rode along with Milwaukee police as they escorted the ambulance carrying Milwaukee Police officer Frank Vrtochnick to Froedtert Hospital, after he was badly hurt after being hit by a car Christmas night. "Fortunately he is at home now, recuperating," Flynn said Monday.

Flynn also made sure to thank the families of law enforcement. Many of them were part of Monday night's service and are a critical support element in a job that can always teeter on life and death.