Catholic Church holds special rosary service to pray for police, first responders during ‘difficult time’

ST. GEORGE — The crowd applauded as more than 60 police officers, firefighters and paramedics entered an oratory during a rosary service held at the St. George Catholic Church Tuesday morning as special prayers were recited for all those who serve.

Police officers, deputies and first responders gather for a special Rosary Service at the Catholic Church on West 200 North in St. George, Utah, Sept. 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St George News

The service was held at 10 a.m. at the St. George Catholic Church at 259 W. 200 North and was hosted by the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a fraternity of Catholic men founded upon principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism that is inspired by their faith and long history of service, according to their website.

The large group was greeted with applause as they entered the chapel Tuesday in a show of support for their dedication and service to the community. The service included a separate recitation of the special “patriotic rosary” that was said for each state “and for every soul in that state.”

The prayers that compose the rosary are arranged in sets of 10 Hail Marys, called decades, five of which are recited per rosary bead. The beads serve as an aid in reciting the prayers in the proper sequence.

Music provided by vocalist Nedje Douyon was intermingled with the recitations, as well as quotes recounted from many of the framers of the Constitution of the United States. Additionally, religious passages relating to hardships similar to what the country is currently confronted with were also read as part of the service, including one such quote relating to the third of five “mysteries of the rosary.”

“The struggles of a great people have almost always ended with the establishment of liberty,” James Iredell wrote in May 1778.

Police officers, deputies and first responders gather for a special Rosary Service at the Catholic Church on West 200 North in St. George, Utah, Sept. 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St George News

The challenges faced by many officers nationally was mentioned after the service by Chief Deputy Nate Brooksby with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, who said having a special prayer recited for each state couldn’t have come at a better time as the nation continues to struggle, adding that the outpouring of support in Washington County has been remarkable.

“It lets me know that we still live in a great place,” Brooksby said.

Brooksby recounted a story that happened at the Washington County Fair a few weeks ago. He said “an overwhelming number of people” took the time to shake the deputies’ hands and to thank them, adding that one young boy walked up to Brooksby and handed him a St. Christopher’s medal, the Patron Saint of Travel, as a means of protection.

Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Brock Bentley shared similar sentiments, adding that the prayers and the service at the church showed “care and concern for us,” he said, and the high level of support they receive from the community.

“For me, it renews that spirit of wanting to serve and protect with so much support behind us,” Bentley said.

For St. George Police Lt. Rich Triplett, it was the effort that went into the service that he found so remarkable, as it was a vivid demonstration of the strong community support “that we are blessed with here,” he said.

“It was clear they really put a lot of thought and time into this,” Triplett said of the service. “It really lets us know that our community is behind us and has our back.”

70 lunches were provided to the officers and first responders by Peppers Cantina during Rosary Service at the Catholic Church on West 200 North in St. George, Utah, Sept. 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St George News

What stood out for Sgt. Reed Briggs with the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department was the opportunity to get together with the community and other officers “to spend time together under faith,” he said, adding that it brings a sense of camaraderie that has a spiritual element to it. What he also noticed during the service, he said, “was the outreach of community support that was there.”

Washington City Police Chief, Jason Williams said the service was an incredible show of support, adding that in the current social climate, it is very important for everyone to encourage one another, and the strong show of support of the Washington City community has helped his officers during what, for many in law enforcement right now, he said, has been a difficult time.

“This is an incredible event and an incredible gesture on the part of the Knight of Columbus,” Williams added.

At the close of the service, Peppers Cantina hosted a luncheon on the go by providing 70 lunches to all of those in attendance. The meals were prepared in to-go containers so the officers and responders could return to their posts quickly. The lunches were provided on behalf of the restaurant’s owner, Richard Rivera.

Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternity of Catholic men founded by Rev. Michael McGivney nearly 150 years ago in New Haven, Connecticut, and has grown into an international society of over 1.6 million Catholic men that belong to more than 11,000 councils spread across the world.

Dedicated to the Columbian principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, the Knights are founded upon ideals inspired by the teachings of the Catholic faith and the proud heritage of service, according to their site.

A recitation was also said for the United States presidency, the Supreme Court of the United States, the House of Representatives and Senate, and the Office of Governors of the United States.

A similar service hosted by the Knights of Columbus will be held at St. Paul Catholic Center at 171 Main St. in Hurricane Sept. 11 for all responders and officers serving in Hurricane, LaVerkin, Springdale and the Colorado City Marshal’s Office that covers both Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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