SCRANTON — The Diocese of Scranton has an uncanny way of looking out for its own.

That magnanimous spirit of care and concern has arguably never been more evident and on display than during the past month, when Diocesan parishes and Catholic schools answered the call to duty in coming to the aid of a native son.

Students at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston proudly display a ceremonial check representing the $2,105 the school raised in support of Scranton police Detective Kyle Gilmartin and his family.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 11, Scranton police Detective Kyle Gilmartin was critically wounded by gunfire in an ambush-style attack carried out by a young assailant while Scranton law enforcement was summoned to the city’s west side.

Detective Gilmartin, 34, a native of the Pittston area and nine-year veteran of the Scranton police department, suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to a city hospital, where he began his recovery that many have termed “miraculous.”

The fact that Gilmartin was faithfully carrying out his duties came as no surprise to his former mathematics teacher at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, Maureen Janoski, who referred to the wounded officer as a “good and nice student,” always dutifully completing his course work.

“I remember him being a very kind individual,” Marcus Grudzinski, a classmate of Detective Gilmartin at Holy Redeemer where he currently teaches social studies, said of the Scranton police officer, who also attended the former Saint Mary of the Assumption Elementary School and Seton Catholic High School, both in Pittston. “He was always someone who would help if someone needed help with anything.”

The Wilkes-Barre Catholic high school quickly responded in kind by collecting donations for their alumnus from the Royal family and conducting a “dress down” day, whereby students offered $3 to attend classes in casual attire.

“The outpouring of generosity was tremendous,” Holy Redeemer Principal Cody Opalka related. “Normally, a dress down day might bring in a few hundred dollars. This collection brought in $3,500.”

“It just goes to show how much love and respect our school community has for those who wear a badge, but also to a family that suffered such a traumatic event,” Opalka added, noting that during the week of Jan. 15 the entire school donned blue as a sign of solidarity for Detective Gilmartin.

In Lackawanna County, Saint Clare/Saint Paul School sprang into action as students, faculty, administrators and families conducted a sale of “SPD STRONG” signs for public display, which thus far has raised nearly $650.

Kara Ware, principal of the two Catholic elementary schools in Scranton’s Green Ridge section, said, “Our commitment to supporting Detective Gilmartin and the Scranton Police Department with a demonstrative symbol like selling the yard signs made perfect sense as a means for both raising funds, and showing how much our school and neighborhood community cares about our local law enforcement.

“Over the years, the Scranton Police has demonstrated their commitment to a partnership with Saint Clare and Saint Paul schools. Those signs are a daily reminder of the commitment, sacrifice put forth each day by the men and women on the force.”

Rebecca Yeager, eighth grade student and Student Council president at Saint Paul’s, said that highlighting the police department in this time of need “shows our support for a man whose job it is to protect us.”

Eileen Rishcoff, principal of Wyoming Area Catholic School whose son, Tim, graduated high school with Gilmartin, along with Father Michael Drevitch, assistant pastor at the nearby parish of Corpus Christi in West Pittston, related how she reached out to the school community to show their support.

“When the donations started rolling in, we were overwhelmed with the amazing response of love and willingness to help that our school family offered,” she said.

“We were able to donate $1,000 to officer Kyle Gilmartin and his family. We weren’t looking for any recognition, but simply teaching our students to always do the right thing!”

Faithful who attended Masses at the Cathedral of Saint Peter during the Jan. 13-14 weekend contributed $2, 368 to a special collection that directly aided Detective Gilmartin and his family.

“We remain humbled by the generosity of our Cathedral family, especially in responding to the needs of a local hero and his family in a time of exceptional need,” Father Jeff Tudgay, Cathedral pastor, said. “Detective Gilmartin and his family continue to be in our prayers and his swift recovery entrusted to God.”

The weekend of Jan. 20-21 saw parishioners from Gate of Heaven Church, Dallas, and Our Lady of Victory Church, Harveys Lake, give $1,198 and $1,227, respectively, to special Mass collections resulting in checks (totaling nearly $2,500) Father Andrew Hvozdovic, the parishes’ pastor, personally presented to the Scranton Police Department.

“Once I learned of the unfortunate situation of Detective Gilmartin, I felt obligated to have my parishes do something to help,” Father Hvozdovic expressed. “My own father was a Wilkes-Barre city firefighter for 30 years and my nephew is currently serving in the Marine Corps, so I have first-hand experience of what it means to have a first responder in the family. Our prayers continue to be with the Gilmartin family.”