Toledo church holds annual mass honoring firefighters

Firefighters gather at historic St. Patrick’s
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 8:15 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The annual firefighters’ mass was held Sunday morning at St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Toledo, with an especially powerful service on the day after the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The service is a long-standing tradition that honors the sacrifices of our local firefighters.

“I mean, there are no words of thanks that can express the relationship that we have had with Historic St. Patrick’s for years. Actually, they’re like our department’s honorary church. So they’re official with us,” said Toledo Fire Chief Brian Byrd.

All firefighters could participate in the mass whether they were religious or not. Some even had the opportunity to get their helmets blessed by the priest.

Toledo Fire Lieutenant JonPaul Thibert tries his best to make it to the service each year.

“It’s an attempt to collect your thoughts, collect yourself, look within, move forward with your faith, whatever that may be, and try to appreciate every day and everyone,” said Lt. Thibert.

This year’s mass was extra special to Lt. Thibert, who began his career at the fire department on September 11, 1992.

Back then, he had no idea just how impactful this day would be.

“After watching all the things that went on with 9/11, there are a lot of people that have survivor’s guilt,” Lt. Thibert said. “There are a lot of people that say they could have done more, and that can translate to a lot of things here at home.”

Lt. Thibert said having this annual mass right around 9/11 just made sense, and he said it helps give him and his fellow firefighters some peace.

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