Bishop Noonan reflects on those who serve and protect us

May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives. (Psalm 128)

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Our ever-reliable God will bless the reverent.  We are created by God and within that creation we are given a dignity that is beyond all telling.  Our first responders know of this dignity of each person and spend their lives honoring this dignity through their offering to keep us safe.  It is fitting to recognize these men and women during our annual celebration of the Blue Mass on September 28, 12:10 p.m. at St. James Cathedral.  First responders throughout the Diocese of Orlando are invited to participate with us in prayer, praising God for our ability to serve Him using our talents to flourish His Kingdom here on earth.

During this past year, here are some of the ways in which these first responders assisted us.  Because of threats against our Church, first responders provide security for our schools and during Mass on Sunday.  When there are situations which require ‘school lockdowns’, our first responders assist our principals and students to keep them safe.  During Hurricanes Irma and Maria, first responders helped prepare for weather changes by contacting those who are required to evacuate and checked on people with disabilities and the elderly.  First responders also provide care for those who are harmed by storms and usher them to safety.  They coordinate their efforts with Catholic Charities of Central Florida so that we might assist each other in honoring the sacredness of all people.  First responders protect children who are endangered by physical abuse and they offer solace for those who have suffered loss.  When crimes are committed on our parish properties, first responders do what they do best, they respond to the call.  When parishioners become ill and need medical attention, first responders offer their kindness and expertise to help them heal.  When there was a ceiling fire at San Pedro Spiritual Development Center in the conference building, first responders made sure the staff and retreatants were safe and the fire was put out quickly to minimize damage.  They provide a safe haven for newborns whose mothers wish to offer them for adoption without any questions asked.

Everyday these men and women set out to serve us and protect us.  What a beautiful testimony to the gift of life which God has given us! Let us pray with gratitude for each one of them and when you see a police officer or firefighter or paramedic, purposefully thank them for their attention to the gift of life; the gift of you and me.

We pray, O God, that You hold Your family safe.

We pray for Your servants
whose heart yields Your purpose.
They embrace Your people
and mourn any distance from You.
They cast themselves aside
to keep us from harm.
They heal the difficulties
and gather the fallen.
They seek the lowly
to enfold them with care.
They rend our heart’s storm
and sew its measure with peace.
They speak with blessing
to build up Your body.

We pray, O God, for these stewards
whose love of You is so great
that they lay down their lives
for each one.

Help us, O God, to hold Your family safe.

Amen.

Bishop Noonan
Diocese of Orlando
September 19, 2018