Archbishop blesses law enforcement in ‘especially challenging time’ at Faith & Blue Mass

By Valerie Schmalz

Photo Credit: Dennis Callahan

Members of law enforcement protect society from the forces of chaos, maintaining the physical order necessary to keep evil at bay, San Francisco’s archbishop told first responders at the second annual Faith & Blue Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Oct. 3.

“Thank you for that commitment and for the sacrifices you make. We cannot even understand the risks you take and the sacrifices you make to keep us safe, to keep us protected and to assure that our communities are rightly ordered,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in his homily.

The second annual Faith & Blue Mass in the archdiocese kicks off a week of activities that will conclude with the national Faith & Blue Weekend Oct. 9-11.

The “Faith & Blue Movement” is a national campaign seeking to improve relationships between law enforcement and first responders and the communities they serve, working with faith communities to promote healing, noted Father Mike Quinn, San Francisco police department chaplain and pastor of St. Brendan Parish in San Francisco.

 “San Francisco has rightly been proud of its diversity and acceptance and the fact that many of our first responders come from the city they serve. The Faith and Blue movement allows us to live the words of our faith by seeking to improve community respect for all of our brothers and sisters,” Father Quinn said.

“We are fortunate to have the wholehearted support of San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, San Francisco Fire Department Chief Jeanine Nicholson and their command staffs and officers, deputies and firefighters and paramedics,” Father Quinn said.

“Archbishop Cordileone leads the Catholic community in praying for the dignity and safety of these dedicated first responders as well as the people served, but this movement is open to all faiths to build bridges of improved understanding and respect,” Father Quinn noted.

The jointly sponsored Faith and Blue activities include community service projects, athletic contests, forums, chess events and other activities.

In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone addressed challenges that many in law enforcement face.

“I know for some of you this is an especially challenging time for you to do this as it would seem there is a … sort of a movement afoot with ulterior motives to try to trip you up—those of you who are committed, have committed yourselves to the forces of order,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

“If you are moved out of the way, the forces of order moved out of the way, then chaos enters.

When that happens then evil reigns and drives everything and everyone down,” the archbishop told the men and women from the San Francisco police department and the San Francisco County sheriff’s department at the Mass.

“I want to say to you how grateful we are for you, and I commend you for persevering in ever more challenging circumstances in the essential work that you do. Your badge is a symbol of the authority the community entrusts you with, and our trust that you will exercise it well,” he said. The archbishop then called the members of law enforcement forward and blessed each of their badges individually.

Your badge is a symbol of the authority the community entrusts you with, and our trust that you will exercise it well

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

“Personally, I know that first responders have a front row seat to human suffering, crime and injustice and that almost all are dedicated to improving and helping others to the point of putting their own safety on the line. Prayer and respect are contagious,” Father Quinn said.

In his words from the altar, Archbishop Cordileone stressed the importance of the virtue in the exercise of authority by law enforcement’s men and women, saying “You our dear first responders are the ones who provide this essential service to society.  I use that word very intentionally. … I do not know who could be more of essential workers than you. Likewise, for you it takes much discipline, self-restraint, and concern for the other in order for this work to be done well, in order for you to exercise your authority justly.”

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