Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

The C-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of several events which I miss. One of the events I will miss the most is the annual Blue Mass. For many years the Archdiocese of Mobile has celebrated the Blue Mass at which we honor our First Responders and pray for them. Since 9/11, this Mass been observed on September 11, a most appropriate day since it was on 9/11 that we dramatically saw the bravery and sacrifice of our First Responders.
Each year it is an honor for me to welcome to the cathedral those who serve and protect us: police, firefighters, FBI and members of other federal public safety agencies, EMTs, and other men and women who are on the front lines of safeguarding us, as well as the chaplains who serve with them.
The cathedral is a very suitable place to gather since the cathedral parish, established in 1703, is the oldest congregation of any denomination or faith in the state of Alabama.
The Blue Mass is consistently an uplifting occasion. Joining First Responders from across the Mobile Bay area who attend are adults and school children who pack the cathedral. The standing ovation given to our honorees is enthusiastic, prolonged and sincere. It is understandable that such a well-attended Mass could not be held this year. It would not be the same and it would not be the event that our First Responders deserve. In its place I am asking all parishes and Catholic schools to pray for our First Responders, especially the week of 9/11. Let us all look forward to resuming the Blue Mass next year, September 10, 2021. (Since 9/11 next year falls on a Saturday, the Mass will be celebrated the previous day.)
Let us all remember the gratitude we owe those who serve in often challenging and dangerous ways. They put themselves on the line for us and I thank them all. In particular, I wish to take this moment to thank our police. Police departments across the country have been highly criticized, especially in recent months. There are times when this criticism is deserved. We watched the awful killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. We recoiled in disgust at this conduct by police. There have been other occasions when the conduct by police cannot be defended. Efforts at reform need to go forward. Yet the wrongdoing of a few will not stop me for being grateful for the extraordinary service of the many.
My dealings with police convince me that the people who are most outraged by the misconduct of police are the police themselves. They take pride in their service and it affects them deeply when their reputations are tarnished by someone from their own ranks. I fully understand this.
We cannot judge all police by the few who fail. When we need our police, they show up. When we are in danger, they are there. Are there those who fail? Yes. Are there those who do not deserve to be police? Yes. Are there those who must be held accountable for their misconduct? Yes. But thank God for the good ones, the great majority. When we look at the videos of 9/11, or of many other tragic events, we remember how much we need them. I am grateful for our police.
To all First Responders, 9/11, more than any other day, is our day to remember what you do for us. Thank you and may God bless and protect you.

By Editor

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