The Blue Mass: Saluting and Praying for Men and Women in Uniform

Every moment of every day, a legion of dedicated men and women stand ready to come to our aid, even putting themselves in harm’s way so we might live in freedom and security. How can we ever repay these people in uniform who give so much, standing vigil for us and responding whenever duty calls?  How can we ever thank them enough?

One way that our community shows its gratitude and expresses prayerful support for these servants in law enforcement and public safety is with the Blue Mass at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church today.  At this annual liturgy, we also pray for those among their ranks who gave their lives for all of us, and to offer our consolation to their survivors, spouses, parents, children, friends.

Before the celebration of Mass, it is my privilege and honor to stand outside the church to recognize and salute a procession of the color corps of many agencies at the federal, state, and local level, together with a bagpipe and drum corps, officers on horseback and fire ladder trucks.  This ceremony and ritual highlights for us the great challenge we face as we try to realize in our community that sense of peace, tranquility, order and freedom that are the right of every person.  At the conclusion of Mass, the names of the fallen are read with the posting of the color guard and the solemn sound of Taps is heard.

We recognize unfortunately that violence is a part of life – an aspect of the human condition.  There is not a day that goes by that we do not hear or see some recounting of bloodshed and other bad things that happen in our community and around the world.  Human discord, division and disdain spawn violence.  So it has always been.

Amidst this violence, animosity and deceit in society, the Blue Mass is an occasion to confirm our appreciation for the moral witness of those who accept the task to stand between us and harm.  By their putting on the uniform or badge, they announce there is a better way: There can be a community of justice, order, compassion, goodness and peace.  Their lives and service are a witness to the hope and faith of all of us that the better side of human nature and experience can be sustained and even flourish.

In thankfulness to God and humility before the Lord at this gathering of faith, we ask that God keep all of them safe in their service to this community.  May we never forget the great price paid by our sisters and brothers in uniform, so that the rest of us can try to live in and build a world of true peace, a peace that ultimately comes from God.  May we also continue to ask the Lord to grant those who have laid down their lives that promised share in the new and eternal life of the Risen Christ.