Cardinal Rigali visits officers at 35th

February 19, 2009 9:59:35 AM PST
The city is preparing to say a final goodbye to yet another fallen Philadelphia police officer. Philadelphia's archbishop is calling for a day of prayer to honor Officer John Pawlowski. This morning Cardinal Justin Rigali visited the 35th District where officers are mourning the death of one of their own.

Cardinal Justin Rigali requested to visit roll call at the 35th district this morning. He told officers in attendance, "There are no easy words that can be expressed on this occasion."

25-year-old police Officer John Pawlowski was assigned to the district. He is second from the 36th to be killed in the line of duty in just 15 months. His fellow officers are on edge and in mourning.

Captain John McCloskey told Action News, "We have a lot of young cops here. I want to make sure they get counseling. We still gotta do a job. I want to make sure they are in the right frame of mind to do that."

Last Friday, Officer Pawlowski was shot and killed responding to a fight at Broad and Olney. The young man was newly married and about to welcome his first child into the world.

Cardinal Rigali told reporters, "This murder has such extraordinary effects that it even penetrates, it even penetrates into the womb of the officer's widow and effects for years to come. It effects the son or daughter of Officer Pawlowski. This is evil."

Cardinal Rigali encouraged the officers to turn to prayer and know that a city stands behind them.

"It means a lot to my officers. It means a lot to me. He gave me a blessing. I know that God is with us and God is with John," said Captain McCloskey.

At two o'clock this afternoon children in the Philadelphia's Catholic Schools will pause to pray for Officer Pawlowski, his family, and the entire police force.

Donations for the family in lieu of flowers are being collected at the FOP Headquarters on the 1300 block of Spring Garden, or at any Philadelphia or Police and Fire Federal Credit Union.

The viewing for Officer Pawlowski will begin at 6:00 tonight, at the Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia. Another viewing will be held tomorrow starting at 7:00 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. That will be followed by a funeral mass at noon.

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