It is kind of funny to me that most of the blogs I read went silent during Holy Week. I on the other hand, go silent after Holy Week. I wanted to post some reflections of Holy Week and Easter but I was pooped after all was said and done. I took Monday off and went home to see my family. Spent Sunday afternoon at my brother’s house then home to rest. Back out here on Monday afternoon for more rest.
Tuesday was a bad day. It began as any other day and I had a meeting at the local hospital. Each local community in Massachusetts has formed an Emergency Planning Committee and I serve on the one in Dudley. Harrington Hospital in Southbridge is forming a regional committee and the fire chief asked me to attend the meeting. Okay so the meeting ended and off I went to the former Fort Devens to pick up some stuff for the Fire Department. On our return a call came in for a car accident. Nothing big, we get a lot of those in our town. But then the call came back that someone was trapped in the car. Not a good situation. I got my stuff together and headed out the door. Upon arrival the place was going crazy. Fire Fighters all over the place and four people were hurt. One was still trapped in the car and not doing well. The EMT’s were performing CPR on him while the rest of the guys cut the roof off. We called for the helicopter to come to transport him to the Trauma Center in Worcester. He did not make it. The doctor pronounced him dead in the ambulance.
Next I got a call to go to the location of the ambulance and I anointed an 18 yo who had died in the accident. I have not done this much, and it is always a blessing to be with someone who has passed on. Each time I anoint someone I get a flash back to the Airport in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when I anointed 64 people who were dying.
So now I have some messed up fire fighters. Although we get a lot of accidents few few turn into fatals, and most of our guys are young. One of the fire fighters had just been talking to the deceased just a few hours before the accident.
We practice something called Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). Not a new science but one that came into it’s own after 9/11. The basic set up is the guys are allowed to talk about what they saw, felt, heard, smelled, etc. The idea is that if they talk about it now, it wont haunt them latter. Well it does work but the nightmares continue. But it is a good thing and I called in some help as I was part of the scene and needed this myself.
All is well now, and the community is dealing with this as best they can. Moral of the story is this. Kids need to learn to slow down. I think I am supporting not giving them permission to drive until they graduate from high school or maybe until 21. This was a stupid senseless accident that did not need to happen. If they had just slowed down, who knows…


  1. Fr. Peter,

    Haven’t had a chance to read many blogs lately because of my work schedule. I understand CISM pretty well as I had a debriefing not too long ago myself. You’re right about it not being “new” science, but it does work for the most part. Sometimes, as you said, the nightmares don’t go away and you need more.

    At least that is my experience, for what it’s worth. Peace, friend.


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