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Aurora’s Blue Mass a tribute to police, firefighters and emergency workers

AurorPolice Officers Mike Ortinau CristRees receive blessing from Father Randy Fronek Holy Angels Parish Thursday September 27 2012 AurorIL.

Aurora Police Officers Mike Ortinau, and Crista Rees receive a blessing from Father Randy Fronek at Holy Angels Parish on Thursday, September 27, 2012 in Aurora IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 2, 2012 6:04AM

AURORA — Jim Brown knows that his job will have its slow days and its fast-paced days.

Brown, an Aurora resident, is a police officer for the village of Lombard.

“There are times when it’s really quiet but other times when it’s extremely high stress and you have to go from basically zero to 60 in the blink of an eye, depending on what the call is,” Brown said.

He has been in all kinds of situations — from something simple like helping a driver who ran out of gas, to a handling a domestic situation between a husband and wife, to investigating a bank robbery.

“You don’t know what the outcome’s gonna be,” Brown said. “So, you depend on your training, you depend on officers that are there with you. And hope for the best.”

Brown also is a member of Knights of Columbus Council 4849, and was one of many public safety personnel honored at the council’s Blue Mass Thursday evening at Holy Angels Church in Aurora.

The Mass was intended to thank police officers and firefighters for their service to the community.

Public safety personnel in attendance came from Aurora, Lombard, Oswego and other towns, and included law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.

According to Ty Simmons, grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 4849, the Blue Mass is a way of thanking public safety personnel in the wake of 9/11.

“They inspired this nation,” Simmons said. “… It’s a thankless job. … They say the joke, ‘The only time you see a cop is when you need ’em.’ But they’re out there doing stuff all the time.”

Blue candles flickered in front of the church and public safety personnel wore their dark blue uniforms for the service.

Brian Birch, cantor, led the church in song in the center of the balcony. His voice sounded theatrical, singing with clarity, pride and power.

Birch sang the question: “What will our children say?”

Meanwhile, Knights of Columbus members representing the Fox Valley area walked down the aisle wearing purple or white feathered hats, black and red or purple and black capes. Their hands, covered in white gloves, held silver swords.

“America, America. I gave my best to you,” Birch sang.

Father Randy Fronek provided the sermon.

“If your job may cause you to lay down your life… in the ‘perfect world’ it would be best if you’re single,” Fronek said.

He said that many married people willingly and lovingly give up their lives in service to their communities.

“You only have one life to live,” Fronek said. “… That’s why we pray at Blue Mass.”

“… We have to be thankful to their families because their families are sharing the gift of their spouses with us,” Simmons said.

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