The Ordo (Liturgical Calendar of the Church) for Catholic liturgies recommends a ‘Blue Mass’ for 9/11, given the number of police and firefighters who gave their lives on 9/11 in the service of others. A Blue Mass is not new, however; it has been celebrated since 1934. It gets its name from the uniformed officers who attended the first Mass in Washington, D.C. Here is a short history:
In 1934, a Catholic Priest by the name of Thomas Dade from Baltimore, Maryland Archdiocese initiated the Catholic Police and Firemen's Society while stationed at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. About 1,100 police and firemen dressed in blue uniforms marched into St. Patrick's Catholic Church for the celebration of the First Blue Mass on September 29th, 1934.
Notice the date September 29th, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. St. Michael is the patron saint of police. The patron saint of firefighters is Saint Florian, who is said to have “saved an entire village from flames by dousing it with a single bucket of water.” He is also the Patron of Brewers, and Soap Makers, which is not to say that Firefighters like beer and need a shower, though that might often be the case.
We will be dedicating a Redwood cedar recently planted near the Memorial Garden as a memorial to those in civil service who have given their lives for our safety. Thanks to Cynde Bosshart and all who helped plan and coordinate our first Blue Mass at St. Stephens.
The Lost Sheep
Our story as Christians is one of mercy. We have all gone astray and the bottom line fact in our relationship with God is that He loves us so much that He is willing and desiring to forgive us all of our sins. His desire for our happiness surpasses any offense we may have given in our rejection of His goodness in a moment of sin. Our Gospel of Luke 15 includes three parables of forgiveness; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost prodigal son. We should consider how God’s mercy has saved us in the past and how much we need it today.
St. Faustina (1905 – 1938), whom the Lord called ‘the secretary of my Mercy’, heard Our Lord say, “Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy. Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy” (Diary, 1577). If we are not conscious of sin, we at least are depending on God’s mercy for our stability in Christ. Without this mercy we would surely stumble. St. Philip Neri (1515 – 1595) remarked when an inebriated man walked past, “There, except for the grace of God, go I.” St. Catherine of Sienna (1347 – 1380), Doctor of the Church, was plagued by impure thoughts for a time. She was distressed and begged God for help. Finally, Jesus appeared to her and she complained about why He had abandoned her. He responded that she had not consented to the thoughts so she had not sinned, and secondly, that He was carrying her through this trial and if he hadn’t been, she would have fallen. If this is how it goes with saints, how much more do we need God’s mercy for our day – to –day lives. The lost sheep was pursued and so are we.
“The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is - trust.
The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive” (Diary, 1578)
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