Cardinal Wuerl Joins Hundreds in Praying for Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and First Responders at Blue Mass
“The lives of those we remember today were given in the greatest of all causes”
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, today gathered with hundreds of those who serve their community as law enforcement officers, fire fighters and emergency first responders at an annual Mass in prayerful and grateful remembrance of those who gave their lives in the fulfillment of their duties.
The “Blue Mass,” is held at St. Patrick Catholic Church in northwest Washington preceding National Police Week (May 10-16.) Officers from a wide range of jurisdictions at the municipal, county and federal levels attend this annual event.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl said the Blue Mass is a chance to more than simply salute, recognize and thank all our law enforcement services, firefighters and first responders. “We also pray for those who, from your ranks, gave their lives for all of us, and to offer our consolation to their survivors, spouses, parents, children, friends.”
The cardinal noted that the morning news carried the story of the death of Brian Moore, a 25-year-old officer shot in the head over the weekend while on duty. “By all accounts he was killed simply because he was a police officer.”
“My brothers and sisters, this Mass for law enforcers, fire fighters and first responders should call forth from us enormous gratitude that there are still those, as young as a 25-year-old officer, who are willing to stand between us and all the violence that Jesus spoke about when he said that the world can never give us real, true, meaningful peace if it does not first come from the heart that beats in tune with God’s command, love the Lord your God and one another.”
The ancient command repeated and reinforced by Jesus that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul, our strength and our neighbor as ourselves is the only road to peace, the cardinal said. “While we know the formula for peace, do good and avoid evil, we also know that we are a long, long way from seeing that great human law written in the heart of each person, actually live in our streets, in our communities, in the world all around us,” he said.
“It is for this reason that this Blue Mass is so important. The very fact that the message of love of God and love of neighbor can be proclaimed here in this Church and in faith communities across this country is because you are prepared to see that we are free.”
The cardinal said that “death, violence, hatred are not the answer and never have been. They are not the path to human dignity, freedom and peace.” But while such violence and hatred are still present, active and forceful in our communities, “we can only thank you for your service, even when it is life threatening and thank God for your courage.”
“The lives of those we remember today were given in the greatest of all causes, to allow God’s love to work in all of us to build a truly good and just society, a world truly reflective of that command, love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself,” the cardinal said.
At the end of the Liturgy, the solemn playing of “Taps” honored those who died in the line of duty in 2014.
The Blue Mass is a tradition that began in 1934, but was not regularly observed until 1994 when it was revived to honor and pray for the men and women who protect our city and nation. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there are more than According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, of which about 12 percent are female. A total of 1,466 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years. In 2014, there were 117 officer fatalities in the United States.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi