‘They were like saviors:’ On Ash Wednesday, Westerville pastor remembers fallen officers

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WESTERVILLE (WCMH) — A rainy and sunless day Wednesday seemed a direct reflection of the mood of the people in Westerville.

Many continue to visit the memorial site for fallen officers Eric Joering and Tony Morelli, wishing for a little sign of hope.

Inside St. Paul the Apostle Church, Father Charlie prepares for Ash Wednesday Mass. His heart too is with the city of Westerville.

“I’m devastated, the whole community is devastated,” said Father Charles Klinger.

Father Charlie will be saying the opening prayer at officer Morelli and Joerings’ funeral at St. Paul on Friday.

St. Paul has opened its church for other fallen officers’ funerals in the past, but this one Father Charlie says hits closer to home.

“They also were like Jesus,” said Father Charlie. “They were like saviors, they protected us and saved us. They gave their lives to save the community of Westerville the way Jesus gave his life to save the whole world.”

Today’s message on this Ash Wednesday, finding a way to heal a broken heart and inviting hope to stay.

“Ash Wednesday is a day we can admit that we are fallen and also redeemed, and in a certain sense officer Joering and Morelli saved us and redeemed us.”

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