Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated a Blue Mass in honor of the work of all public safety officers at the Cathedral of the Assumption on the 19th anniversary of September 11.
The Blue Mass gives thanks for the work of first responders and pays tribute to those who lost their lives while serving their communities.
In years past, as many as 200 police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other first responders processed into the Cathedral for the annual liturgy. The archbishop noted this year’s sparse crowd and said he hopes next year more people feel comfortable joining.
The archbishop told the public safety officers gathered that the Blue Mass was an opportunity for them “to pray for the gift of your vocation and for those whom you work with.”
During his homily, Archbishop Kurtz said they gathered at a time filled with many challenges — “the remembrance of 9/11, 19 years ago today; the challenges of the ugly sin of racism as well as the reality of violence as well as peaceful protests that have called forth great energy from first responders,” he said.
In the midst of that, he said, he recalled the first reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In his letter, St. Paul talks about the word charism, which means gift.
“A charism is a gift given by God to a person, not for his or her own benefit but for the good of others. Is that not a first responder?” he asked. “Your vocation is to take the gifts that God has given you not for your own sake or your own glory or your own benefit but for those you serve.”
The archbishop told the first responders gathered that even in the midst of division “your work is to be ambassadors of peace.”
“Peacemaking can sometimes be hard when everyone doesn’t want peace. But, nevertheless, always seek ways to make peace,” he said.