Grosse Pointe News | June 14th, 2018 | News section
Father Rich ‘a great friend’ in the Shores By Melissa Walsh
Grosse Pointe Shores — When Public Safety Director John Schulte invited the Rev. Richard Bartoszek to serve as department chaplain in 2014, he added a friend to the force.
“He’s just a great friend and he’s been well received here,” Schulte said. “In Grosse Pointe Shores we don’t have a lot of criminal activity. We don’t have a lot of violent activity. Nonetheless, he’s always there if we call him. He’s just been a great friend to the department.”
Bartoszek has ministered to Schulte’s family since Schulte’s mother served in Bon Secours Chapel more than 20 years ago. “Father Rich,” as he is known, presided over Schulte’s mother’s funeral Mass and offered spiritual care to his mother-in-law, in addition to ministering to his family in other ways.
Bartoszek said his role as Shores chaplain initiated his experience ministering directly to officers.
“When John Schulte asked me to be part of the department, I was very honored because I have a very high respect for police officers,” he said.
Bartoszek said he’s observed police officers as interested in helping people more than prosecuting them and “focused on what they’re doing to keep the community safe, a very intensive thing for them.”
He said he’s open to joining officers on the beat to learn more about their daily work.
“They know that I pray for them every day,” he said. “I think they live very dangerous lives and don’t know what they’re going into each day.”
A volunteer spiritual counselor on call for the department, Bartoszek meets the officers in groups and one-on-one based on need.
“They know that if they have anything to talk about, whether work-related or family-related, I’m very happy to sit down and meet with them.”
“He has counseled a couple of our guys on personal matters and he is the total voice of common sense, of spiritual sense I should say,” Schulte said.
Bartoszek added he enjoys the community of area police chaplains he’s met during public safety events.
Other hats Bartoszek wears are director of spiritual care at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe and priest “helping out” at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores.
“Two of the most eye-opening experiences for me in the last few years are the funerals we had at St. Joan of Arc for two police officers that died,” he said. “They were both from St. Joan of Arc. To see the support of the police, of course from Grosse Pointe, but also from all over the place who came. And to see those services, it was just one of the most holy experiences. The respect for police officers is much greater than we sometimes hear. The few bad ones who do the wrong thing, they’re sensationalized more than the ones who are really doing a good job and going out of their way.”