First responders honored during annual blue service

Nov 6, 2014, 8:36 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm
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PHOENIX — Hundreds of people turned up Nov. 6 for the annual blue service at Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church in Phoenix. Dozens of police and firefighters were among them.

The service pays tribute to first responders who have passed away. The names of police and firefighters who died in the past year were read at the service.

During the service, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead thanked first responders for laying their lives on the line.

“At any moment harm could come your way,” Olmstead told the congregation. “You must respond quickly and with courage to keep others safe, to protect the innocent, and to defend the common good. With profound gratitude, we assure you of our prayers, as we also pray for your families and loved ones.”

Olmstead is especially grateful for the way Phoenix police investigated a June break-in at a Catholic church in Phoenix that left one priest dead and another wounded.

“Our Catholic community is deeply grateful for your professional, and your compassionate service,” Olmstead said.

One man was arrested in that case.

After the service, Olmstead told KTAR that the church is happy to host the annual service.

“We feel really blessed to have so many men and women who are willing to step forward and put their lives at risk to protect our community and to serve those who are vulnerable and in great need,” Olmstead said. “Holding this service is a great privilege for us.”

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First responders honored during annual blue service