First responders bring the ‘healing and peace of Christ’ to community, says archbishop

The American flag hung on a building opposite the Cathedral of the Assumption where Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre celebrated the annual Blue Mass in honor of first responders Sept. 11. (Record Photos by Ruby Thomas)

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre celebrated the Cathedral of the Assumption’s annual Blue Mass Sept. 11, telling first responders who’d gathered that they bring the healing and peace of Christ to the communities they serve.

The archbishop described the liturgy as an “outward expression” of deep gratitude for all they do.

Louisville Fire and Rescue officers processed into the Cathedral of the Assumption.

The Mass also commemorated the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and remembered those first responders who made the “ultimate sacrifice” on the day of the attacks, the archbishop said.

“While others are fleeing away from unrest and emergencies, you are making your way directly into all that is occurring in an effort to bring order, to bring healing, to bring peace,” he said.

Louisville Fire and Rescue Pipe Sergeant Tamara Stewart played the bagpipe during the procession.

He also thanked the families who share the first responders with the community.

During his homily, Archbishop Fabre said the day’s readings provided some insight into this liturgy.

The hat and gloves of fallen officers rested atop red pillows near the entrance of the Cathedral of the Assumption.

In the second reading from the Book of Acts, St. Peter is “challenged to show no partiality” and comes to realize that God has given “common human dignity” to all, the archbishop said.

“God shows no partiality in his invitation to come to know the salvation offered to us,” said Archbishop Fabre. “In a like manner, dear first responders, your generous service and protection are offered to all people in our communities.

Female officers and their daughters took part in the Mass.

“You respect that each person possesses human dignity given to them by Almighty God. … In your service as first responders, you generously make yourself available to all in the community so that all can feel secure because of your vigilance and your service,” he said.

The Gospel reading from the Book of Luke, where a Roman centurion “summons” Jesus to heal one of his servants, further shows that all are loved by God and deserving of his assistance, the archbishop said.

Law enforcement officers listened during the Mass.

In a similar way, he said, first responders are “summoned” to different situations for which they may not have all the information, but “come to a greater understanding” of the need as they arrive.

“Never forget that in so many ways you truly bring the healing and peace of Christ to all in our community, all those whom you are summoned to serve, assist, to protect, to bring healing,” said Archbishop Fabre.

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