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Mass celebrates first responders

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(KWMU photo)
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By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers from several jurisdictions were at a South St. Louis Catholic church Thursday morning to pray for peace on the anniversary of September 11th.

It's the 5th year St. Joan of Arc has honored first responders at a morning Mass. Fifty-six of the church's 3000 parishioners are emergency personnel, including Nancee and John Nocchiero. She is an officer and he is a sergeant with the St. Louis Police Department.

The couple attends Mass together as often as they can, but John says it was nice to be appreciated.

"It's just nice to see all the kids and everybody get together and celebrate, especially on a day like today when it falls on September the 11th," he said.

Nocchiero says the events are also important to keep the attacks in people's minds.

Reverend Michael Turek used his homily to teach students at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School about love, which he said requires sacrifice and service. He held the emergency personnel in attendance up as examples.

"They don't know what's going to be asked of them today. But they say yes to today, yes I will serve, yes I will sacrifice, yes I will love," Turek said.

Many of the students, like those pictured above delivering a blessing to the first responders, weren't born when the planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon seven years ago.

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