As those working in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) continue to navigate the realities of upholding the motto To protect and to serve, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has added more layers of anxiety and trepidation.
But there has been evidence of officers leaning deeper into their faith through the help of Catholic clergy over the last several months, too.
One example: A half-dozen LAPD officers from the West LA Community Station, led by captain Randall Goddard and senior lead officer James Lavenson, received permission recently to attend a midweek noon Mass at St. Sebastian Catholic Church. Their Butler Avenue precinct, which includes coverage of Westwood, Pacific Palisades, Cheviot Hills, Century City, and Bel Air, is less than a half-mile away from the church campus.
Father German Sanchez, in a Mass livestreamed through Zoom and the parishs Facebook account, recognized the officers call to duty and offered their prayers to end the pandemic.
Very often I pray for those on the frontline, those who expose their lives and families to help society, Father Sanchez said to start the Mass. Today I invite you to pray for another group the police. We want to say thank you for your mission, for everything you do for our society in creating peace. You and your family are in our prayers always.
In his homily, Father Sanchez talked about how in a crisis situation, it is important to remember God is with us and can enlighten us, guide us, protect us, help us to live with confidence with a life of solidarity with those who are suffering. We are responsible for not just our lives but our brothers and sisters. We have a strong weapon: prayer.
The LAPD counts more than 9,000 sworn officers among its 13,000 employees, and has been posting frequent updates on how it is dealing internally with the coronavirus cases. Recent reports indicate that more than four dozen LAPD employees have tested positive, some hospitalized. An outbreak has also occurred at the LAPD training center in Westchester.
As LAPD Chief Michel Moore seeks more tests for all officers, ongoing projects such as Operation Blue Heart have been in force, with officers volunteering to run errands for at-risk residents.
Deacon Jim Carper, the parish life director at St. Bernadette Church in Baldwin Hills since 2016, is also acting president of the LAPD Clergy Council at the Southwest Division, headed by Captain Billy Brockway.
The precincts Twitter account recently thanked Carper for regularly attending daily roll calls to pray over our officers.
Said Carper, Police officers may have all kinds of backup, but they need to know that somebody spiritually has their backs.
Carper, a deacon since June 2012, is the only white Catholic on the LAPD Clergy Council for the Southwest Division, which includes Hispanics and African-Americans who come from other Christian denominations. Carper said the coronavirus pandemic has drawn us all closer because it has a leveling effect, it doesnt discriminate and were all equally at risk.
As the council meets weekly lately, in hour-plus video gatherings prayers are always offered for the police, the community, and for a coronavirus cure.
It is amazing to hear all the different races, colors, creeds, and Christian denominations pray together, and often LAPD captains come on the call to listen as well, said Carper, noting they also had an officer join who had tested COVID-19 positive.
Deacon Carper distributes communion.
The LAPD Clergy Council is one that basically is a ministry of presence, to be there and listen, said Carper. On the recent Ash Wednesday when he distributed ashes at the station, Carper said many other non-Catholic officers accepted his offer to bless their shields, because it was a way to reach out and touch them.
Police have such a high level of stress on their job and to have someone who can show up for them, pray for them, even if they arent Catholic, you become a representative of the community, said Carper. This is what were here for.
Deacon David Smith, based at St. Julie Billiart Church in Newbury Park, is in agreement.
In 2000, Smith retired after 29 years serving on the LAPD, the last eight as a captain in West LA. At one point before his LAPD career, Smith entered the seminary. He completed the diaconate program in 2007.
My journey has always been about trying to find God in the places where we are, and those who are the first responders have the toughest jobs, said Smith. There are a lot of brave men and women who respond to the call of duty and place their lives in danger to help someone else. Many times they dont get much credit [they] often get more criticism than praise.
What I saw through my career is that, in the police department, if you realize Gods in your life, you can tell by the way the officers, lieutenants, sergeants, and captains respond and are willing to give of themselves and have a better relationship with the community. Police officers want to make a difference, but they can be affected by the crimes they see and the victims they often meet. They can see a lot of evil.
Smith recalled watching how the work of now-retired Father Mike McCullough during his 40-plus years as the LAPDs full-time chaplain (as well as working simultaneously with the FBI) helped bring about an attitude change. Father McCullough was also a graduate of the police academy and a reserve officer.
But now I think during this COVID-19 crisis, a lot has changed, asking police officers to be even more in harms way, Smith added. This is also a time when police wont do a lot of traditional enforcement. Arrests are down, but crime seems to be down as well. People are seeing police bringing food to families in need and doing more outreach. Its an important message that leads to great results. The police have responded and thats the good news of serving one another.
Father Steve Davoren, ordained in 1996 and installed as the pastor at St. Mel Church in Woodland Hills in July 2018, also understands both sides of this.
During his role for several years recently as director of Vocations in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he could relay his experience serving as an LAPD officer in the 1990s and, before that, three years with the LA Sheriffs Department.
Like his father and three brothers, Father Davoren believed he would become a career police officer. Even though he eventually answered the call to the priesthood, his mind is never far from the LAPD force.
Davoren likes to cite the work of his brother, Tom, a member of the LAPD Metro Bomb Squad, who calls on his faith to remain calm in traumatic situations, stay steady and focused and centered.
Father Steve Davoren (left) and Father Tim Klosterman with Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully.
Any first responder knows that each day is different and can change in an instant from calm to chaotic, Davoren told Angelus. What is, I think, so important for our Catholic faith and any faith is having that anchor, that rock, that you come back to. Its a faith in Jesus, the ability to rely on the word and the sacraments. You need that sense of moral center in believing in something bigger than yourself.
Its really an act of love in putting yourself at risk to will the good of the other, that love is manifested in different ways and the Catholic community is all the parts of the body of Christ and laying down ones life, said Davoren.
With having to protect people during COVID-19, and everything that keeps changing and becoming uncertain, maybe you dont feel you can rely on anything. But the one thing you can rely on is the Faith.
See the article here:
- A Spiritual Walk: What is your perfect vision for healing the world? - New Baltimore Voice Newspapers - August 10th, 2020
- ISSUES OF FAITH: The spirituality of the ordinary - Peninsula Daily News - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: It is our religious calling - News - Wicked Local Plymouth - August 10th, 2020
- The Orthodox Female Spiritual Leader Working with Converts - Jewish Journal - August 10th, 2020
- As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey - The Conversation US - August 10th, 2020
- For Ottessa Moshfegh, Novel Writing Is a Spiritual Experience - The Nation - August 10th, 2020
- The role of kindness in the spiritual life - Aleteia IT - August 10th, 2020
- Why Mennonites, Lutherans and other say farming has a spiritual side - Deseret News - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: A trip to the movies - Milford Daily News - August 10th, 2020
- The pandemic can be more than purgatory. It can be a time of deep spiritual formation. - The Dallas Morning News - August 10th, 2020
- Police violence meets spiritual resistance in the struggle over DAPL - NationofChange - August 10th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: Don't Throw Your Own Pity Party and Attend - Dallasweekly - August 10th, 2020
- Spiritual Reflections: It has been a season of humility - SW News Media - August 10th, 2020
- Live: Raising Emotionally and Spiritually Healthy Bochurim - Anash.org - Good News - August 10th, 2020
- KATHIE DEASY Ironclad sparks ideas of being armed in spiritual iron - Port Arthur News - The Port Arthur News - August 10th, 2020
- '90 Day Fianc': Kalani and Asuelu Reveal Their Rare, Unconventional Shared Spiritual Belief in New Sneak Peek - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - August 10th, 2020
- Adult faith formation thriving although different due to COVID - Baptist News Global - August 10th, 2020
- As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey - The Wilton Bulletin - August 10th, 2020
- New Book Offers Much Needed Spiritual Nourishment to Caregivers - PRNewswire - August 10th, 2020
- National webinar on "How to manage stress through science and spirituality" organized - Nagpur News - August 10th, 2020
- Ayala: San Antonios little-known spiritual forest will be preserved in perpetuity - San Antonio Express-News - August 10th, 2020
- Health First's Pastoral Care Teams Turn to Technology to Deliver Spiritual Care and Compassion - SpaceCoastDaily.com - August 10th, 2020
- Katy Perry said she and Orlando Bloom bound by 'spiritual evolution' - Insider - INSIDER - August 10th, 2020
- Global Spiritual Forum The Island - The Island.lk - August 10th, 2020
- From the Archive: Going to a spiritual place in Barry - Barry and District News - August 10th, 2020
- Suikoden Creators On Making A Spiritual Follow-Up To The Classic JRPG - GameSpot - August 10th, 2020
- Why Irans highest spiritual chief Khamenei began a Twitter account in Hindi, know the motive - Pledge Times - August 10th, 2020
- City Lights: Sit with Yuri Schwebler's Spiritual Art or Probe Your Psyche with Project Implicit - Washington City Paper - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: A trip to the movies - Wicked Local Sharon - August 9th, 2020
- World Music Innovators Turning Jewels Into Water Fuse The Spiritual With Digital On Their New Album - Recording Academy | Grammys - August 9th, 2020
- Ram Temple a great place to take plunge into the pool of spirituality, will promote spiritual tourism, says Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel - New... - August 9th, 2020
- Small Changes Can Lead to Big Results | Spiritual and Physical Wellness - ChicagoNow - August 9th, 2020
- Life and Death Meet in Spiritual Arrog Adventure - GameIndustry.com - August 9th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: Beware those seeking a pat on the back - The Philadelphia Tribune - August 8th, 2020
- The lord of all beginnings - The New Indian Express - August 8th, 2020
- Ayahuasca spiritual enhancers, arthritis cures and bone wine: The disturbing rise in the illegal jaguar trade - The Independent - August 8th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Look to the sky and behold its wonders - Wicked Local Plymouth - August 8th, 2020
- During coronavirus, monasteries and convents take spirituality online - DW (English) - August 8th, 2020
- PMs Ayodhya speech: It was technically pitch perfect, but there was little that was meditative and spiritua - The Times of India Blog - August 8th, 2020
- God is always with us, even when we don't recognize him - CatholicPhilly.com - August 8th, 2020
- Support in the time of pandemic - Brattleboro Reformer - August 7th, 2020
- PMs Ayodhya speech: It was technically pitch perfect, but there was little that was meditative and spiritua - Economic Times - August 7th, 2020
- Swamiji and Politics - The Statesman - August 7th, 2020
- Mercury opposing Pluto, Full Moon Mysteries and Spiritual "Walk-ins"! - BlogTalkRadio - August 7th, 2020
- One in Christ, one with the people of Lebanon - CatholicPhilly.com - August 7th, 2020
- Lord Ram temple will boost the Religious/Spiritual tourism: Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel - Odisha Diary - August 5th, 2020
- Spiritual Formation at Bethel Seminary: A Life-changing Journey - Bethel University News - August 5th, 2020
- Ayahuasca 'spiritual enhancers', arthritis cures and 'bone' wine: The disturbing rise in the illegal jaguar trade - The Independent - August 5th, 2020
- Words of Faith: The oneness of humanity, a spiritual truth - Frederick News Post - August 5th, 2020
- Physiotherapist authors book on mental and spiritual health - New Era - August 5th, 2020
- unWrap - Physiotherapist authors book on mental and spiritual health - New Era - August 5th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Look to the sky and behold its wonders - Wicked Local Wareham - August 5th, 2020
- Ujjvala Radio - The Yamas and Niyamas 08/04 by SURN Host | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - August 5th, 2020
- Dailt Spiritual Leader Should Have Been Called To Ayodhya Event: Mayawati - NDTV - August 5th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: A trip to the movies - Wicked Local Walpole - August 5th, 2020
- Distinguishing between the individuality of spirituality and unity of religion - Ke Alakai - August 4th, 2020
- Faith Sparks: Positive Aspects of Technology Can Enhance Spirituality - Diocese Of Norwich - August 4th, 2020
- No expendable generation: On the spirituality and strength of our vulnerable elders - The San Diego Union-Tribune - August 4th, 2020
- Coronavirus, mental health, and the spiritual life: A priest psychologist offers tips from St. Ignatius - The Catholic Telegraph - August 4th, 2020
- Local doctor discusses spirituality in the age of COVID-19 - WJTV - August 4th, 2020
- Ministering to spiritual needs on the front lines of COVID-19 - VAntage Point Blog - August 4th, 2020
- Uplift Your Spirit With The Spiritual Performance Of Yishay Zimrah In His Divine Number 'THE ONLY WAY' - Daily Music Roll - August 4th, 2020
- 7 Reasons Why Finding Love Is Important For Spiritual Growth - YourTango - August 4th, 2020
- Hampton Lutherans spiritual guidance perseveres through pandemic - York News-Times - August 4th, 2020
- Marilyn Hagerty: In some ways, it's been a bummer of a summer - Grand Forks Herald - August 4th, 2020
- This Is Your Captain Speaking, The Retail Sales Recovery Will Be Delayed - Retail Leader - August 4th, 2020
- Virtual Destination Mekong Summit to offer recommendations and insights for travel businesses during COVID-19 to prepare for a balanced tourism... - August 4th, 2020
- COVID-19: 115 countries are still closed to travelers - The Jakarta Post - Jakarta Post - August 4th, 2020
- 'Moments in Time' Sends a Subtle Message That No Photographer Should Miss - Fstoppers - August 4th, 2020
- Bubble waffles: The uniquely Hong Kong snack that's popping up around the world - CNN - August 4th, 2020
- Blue Apron Partners with New York Chef & Television Personality Amanda Freitag to Inspire Home Cooks to Revamp Their Fall Routine - PRNewswire - August 4th, 2020
- Emirates Resumes Flights to Kuwait City and Lisbon, Expanding Its Network to 70 Destinations - Al-Bawaba - August 4th, 2020
- The garden of spiritual wisdom - The New Indian Express - August 3rd, 2020
- Coronavirus, mental health, and the spiritual life: A priest psychologist offers tips from St. Ignatius - Catholic News Agency - August 3rd, 2020
- The Spiritual Opportunity of Working on Your Own Racism - Patheos - August 3rd, 2020
- Suikoden Creators On Making A Spiritual Successor To The Classic JRPG - GameSpot - August 3rd, 2020
- Stevie Nicks Is the Spiritual-Warrior Leader We Need: Wear a Mask and Stay In - Rolling Stone - August 3rd, 2020
- Understanding Hinduism: 4 Vedas the fountain heads of spirituality - Tehelka - August 3rd, 2020
- A Transporting New Exhibition Explores the Possibility That All Things Are Imbued With Spiritual LifeSee Artworks Here - artnet News - August 3rd, 2020
- 3 things to watch this weekend: Reese Witherspoon's spiritual sequel to Big Little Lies - News Lagoon - August 3rd, 2020