A Note From Fr. LeRoy
In the coming weeks I will be interviewed by the Chaplaincy Division of the St. Cloud Police Department for the Police Chaplaincy program. For the past 4 years, I've been praying and discerning whether or not I should sign up to be one of several Chaplains in our area called to minister to the spiritual needs of those officers who serve in our local Law enforcement. For whatever reason I felt this urge long before the "Defund the Police" and anti-police movements got started with devastating results. Those who feel called to dedicate their lives to public service are often over-worked and taken for granted by those whom they serve. Fortunately our own St. Cloud Police has a good track record as well as public support by our local citizens, people who are not buying into the false narrative. Yes, all institutions (as well as all individuals) at specific times need to re-examine their mission, their policies, and their lives, however, they also need to be given the freedom and authority to do their work! This is not always the case at least in the eyes of some media outlets. I personally have experienced the great job our local law enforcement did for me on several occasions, so I feel a responsibility to support them.
Police Chaplaincy is a non-paid, volunteer position where clergy (mostly retired and mostly non-Catholic) provide spiritual support for our local officers. Our own Fr. Timothy Gapinski has been serving in the position of Police Chaplain for about 3 years. He is possibly the first "Catholic" Chaplain to ever sign up! If accepted, I would be the second. Police Chaplaincy consists in responding to some emergency calls, spending a minimum of 8 hours a month riding in a squad car with various officers 'on the beat' and simply being available to pray for and talk. Today, our law enforcement officers need a tremendous amount of support and help. Many can be discouraged by the bad publicity despite the fact that it puts their lives in danger multiple times a day. They too can experience their own version of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) in dealing with the public as they see the worse side of human nature.
Police are called to be a good example for others, striving to show them how to enjoy the freedoms God has put into their lives. This said, police officers are human too and so they have their own set of faults and foibles, yet the overwhelming and vast majority of them are good citizens trying to do what's right for us. Police are called to protect those of whom God has placed in their care. They go after the villains and at times have to also admonish and correct even the "good citizens" challenging them to also be better people for others. So, let's continue to support and pray for our Law Enforcement Officers. Be sure to thank them whenever you get a chance. And, should I be accepted, pray for me in this new role which I will be doing in addition to my current duties as Pastor.
Blessings and peace,
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl