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May 9, 2008

The following appears in today's Philadelphia Inquirer

Officer Gary Skerski, May 8, 2006.

Captain Charles "Chuck" Cassidy, Oct. 31, 2007

Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, May 3, 2008.

All three, loving fathers. All three, devoted husbands. All three, actively involved in their community. All three killed in the line of duty the past two years.

All three were also Catholic - a fact, I believe, that is significant. On this day when we as a city turn to the Funeral Rites of the Catholic Church for comfort, millions throughout our region join in prayers of sympathy and solidarity.

Beginning in childhood, Catholics discover the meaning of sacrifice in the person of Jesus, who gave his life on the cross for all. He taught us that "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends"(John 15:13). In life and in death, our three fallen officers followed the example of Jesus in serving their brothers and sisters.

We honor these three officers who gave their lives for their fellow citizens. Their passionate commitment to do so comes as no surprise when we look at their lives:
They were men of strength, men of love. They loved their neighbors by trying to protect them. They loved this City of Brotherly Love by making the ultimate sacrifice, themselves victims of the criminal acts they worked so hard to prevent.
They lived the motto of the Philadelphia Police Department: "Honor, Integrity, Service."

Their example forces all of us to look at ourselves and ask how we can be more vigilant in preventing crime, more active in volunteering to build up our communities, more committed to prayer to almighty God and more respectful and loving of our fellow residents.

As Archbishop of Philadelphia, how moved I am by the ultimate sacrifice of Officers Liczbinski, Cassidy and Skerski! How proud I am of our Catholic men and women in uniform! Together with you, I am grateful to them and to all who serve us -- no matter their religion - and who daily risk their lives for their brothers and sisters.

Kevin Mulligan
Associate Director Communications

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