Bishop blesses first responders at annual Blue Mass

Oct 5, 2023
Bishop John Noonan blesses the members of the Orlando Firefighters Pipe and Drums. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

ORLANDO | First responders ranging from mounted police to firefighters filled St. James Cathedral in Orlando, Sept. 29, 2023, for the annual celebration of the Blue Mass.

The Mass celebrated the feasts of Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.

Bishop John Noonan joked the fire department is the favorite of first responders because they have “all the bells and whistles.” More seriously, he told them: “You are our guardian angels because wherever or whenever we are lost and seeking guidance, first responders become the most important people in our lives.”

Likening them to the archangels he described each angel’s attributes. “St. Michael’s name means ‘who is like God’ – whose symbol is the sword and shield. He is the defender against all that is evil.; St. Gabriel is a symbol of peace, the messenger, a shining lantern for truth; and St. Raphael means ‘God’s remedy or healing’. When Raphael touched the lips and eyes of Tobit, he was cured… You (like the angels) are always there for us,” Bishop Noonan said.

The Mass closed with a recognition of those fallen in the line of duty and a blessing for safety from harm.

Blue Mass 2023

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, October 5, 2023