This image is partially inspired by a fond childhood memory of St. Matthew School in northeast Philly, the neighborhood in which I grew up. Whenever a police car, firetruck, or ambulance would go by on Cottman Avenue, its siren loudly wailing, the teacher would pause her lesson and lead us in a prayer- for both the emergency responders and the people in need of their help. Those holy present moments of prayer which I loved as a kid are now a practice which I have adopted as an adult living on a busy street in Camden where the sounds of sirens are all too familiar.
We have a wonderful police force and commissioner here in Camden, one which has been working very hard over the past several years at building strong community relations based on trust and helpfulness. We have seen a drastic reduction in the murder and crime rates- which used to be among the highest in the nation- because of this new style of community based policing.
This image of St. Michael the Archangel, the traditional Patron Saint of Police Officers, is my prayerful response of gratitude for the heroic and challenging work of all the first responders across our country. I should also mention: I am the proud uncle of a Philadelphia fire-fighter!