The Pope and the Protestant

Like many of you folks, a great deal of my time during the past few weeks was spent watching the pageantry and drama surrounding the life and death of Pope John Paul II. One of the great strengths of the Holy Father's life was the emphasis he placed upon being a servant of his flock. This impressed me a great deal. As you all know one of my personal crusades involves being a fervent supporter of the concept of servant leadership in the fire service.

Let me begin by stating that I am not a member of the Catholic Church. My grandparents came from a village not far from Krakow in the years following World War I, so I share that part of my pedigree with the Holy Father. During my formative years, I was christened a Catholic, but raised as an Episcopalian.

Through the years, my faith journey has taken me in a number of directions. However my primary thrust has always been Protestant in nature. My current role is as a member of the Reformed Church in America (RCA).

During my time in Newark, my ties to the Catholic Church were close indeed. Many times I attended mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark. I usually went with one or more of my Irish Catholic buddies. I found the experience extremely moving.

Another great tie-in to the church came from my personal relationship with the department