Members of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association attended Masses at St. Paul and St. Peter churches in St. Cloud Nov. 24 for the blessing of the organization’s new memorial bell.
The association is dedicated to assisting the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. When Father LeRoy Scheierl, pastor of both parishes, learned that the organization didn’t have a bell and was borrowing one for memorial services for fallen officers, he wanted to help.
“Bells have a special place in the life of God’s people,” Father Scheierl said during the blessing. “The peal of bells marks the hours for prayer in times of celebration, alerts us to important events and tolls in remembrance of loved ones.”
The bell will be used on special occasions and will toll in memory of the men and women who served the community as law enforcement officers and gave their lives in the line of duty, Father Scheierl said.
A few months ago, Officer Rachel Johnson of the St. Cloud Police Department was having a conversation with another officer in the parking lot of St. Paul Church. Father Scheierl noticed the police cars in the lot and walked over to them, afraid there was a problem. The officers assured him that everything was fine.
After talking for a while, Johnson, who also a member of the LEMA Honor Guard Colors Team, asked Father Scheierl if the church happened to have an old bell the association could use for memorial services around the state.
“The police officers need our support,” Father Scheierl said. “So anything we can do to show our support is important.”
Neither of Father Scheierl’s parishes had an old bell, so he searched on the internet and found a new bell he could purchase. The money came from a special fund made up of donations for memorials and special causes.
“It’s cool how God works,” said Brian Hubbard, president of LEMA and deputy chief of the Crystal, Minnesota, Police Department. “We had been looking for a bell — the bell is very ceremonial for us in the things that we do — and this bell became available due to your generosity. This is a tremendous gift for us.”