Cardinal Wuerl Joins Hundreds in Praying for Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and First Responders at Blue Mass

May 07, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, gathered with hundreds of those who serve their community through their commitment 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,” held at St. Patrick Catholic Church in northwest Washington, is held at the beginning of National Police Week. Officers from a wide range of jurisdictions at the municipal, county and federal levels attend this annual event.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl referenced the recent Boston Marathon tragedy and pointed out that while the stunned reaction of the crowds was to run away from the explosion, the police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel were the ones running towards the damage and to the people who had been hurt. “While most of us instinctively, intuitively, atavistically know to move away from the source of danger and possible harm, the colleagues of all of those we celebrate in this Church today were trained and committed themselves to place themselves in harm’s way for the good of others. They simply ran to the scene of the tragedy to begin to help those who were hurt and to see what could be done to avert additional tragedy,” said the Cardinal.

“We need to say thank you. We need to thank God for those who do place themselves between us and harm’s way. We need to let them and their families know that we know how significant their actions are. And they need to know that we are truly grateful…But there is still more. Not every law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency responder or medical personnel return home at the end of the day or night, whatever their watch might be. We come here today not just to thank God for their service but to remember them and to pray to God for them.”

Cardinal Wuerl continued, “We also thank the Lord for the solidarity of all here today. We do not make our way through life alone. We draw strength and support from one another. Jesus still beckons us to make the step, the leap of faith, to renew our faith, to accept his message of love, life, compassion and peace. What the Gospel tells us is that we have the power within us to make of this world a better place. Our actions, while individual and seemingly small, play a part in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness, between peace and war, between violence and harmony, between hatred and love. Jesus tells us that goodness begins first in each human heart.

“The Church is not idealistic – proclaiming peace, kindness, compassion and love as if we are unaware that there is division, violence, conflict and even hatred,” said the Cardinal. “What the Church proclaims is the message of Jesus that each one of us can do our part to make the world just a little bit better. If enough people do this, the world can be a great deal better…In this Blue Mass celebration, we together in faithfulness to the Gospel and humility before the Lord, ask that God keep us always mindful of his love and of our call to live in the peace that Christ offers us, a peace so much greater than the peace this world offers because it is a peace that touches the heart, the soul a peace that comes from God. For all that our uniformed women and men do to foster that peace, we gather together today to say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘God bless you.’”

At the end of the Liturgy, an honor guard and bagpipers played “Taps” in memory of those who died in the line of duty in the last year.

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 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 97 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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