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First responders display the greatest love, Bishop Malooly says at Blue Mass

Officers attend the annual Blue Mass at St. Elizabeth Church on Oct. 5. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

WILMINGTON – There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. That was the message of the Gospel reading at the annual Blue Mass, which honors police, firefighters and other first responders. The service was held Oct. 5 at St. Elizabeth Church.

Bishop Malooly celebrated the Mass, joined by Msgr. Steven Hurley, himself a former police officer, along with Fathers Norman Carroll and Brian Lewis.

During his homily, the bishop said sometimes the public doesn’t “realize how fortunate we are” to have so many dedicated men and women as first responders. He added that these jobs are difficult to do without faith.

“Many of you are Catholic,” Bishop Malooly said. “I know you are men and women of faith.”

The officers and others should know that most of the people they serve are appreciative of their work and that the public acts to protect them as well.

Referring to the Gospel, the bishop the officers work to protect their brothers and sisters, which, as the passage notes, is the greatest love one can give.

“You put yourselves at risk every day,” he said. “You know this better than any of us here.

“It’s our belief that we have been saved that sustains us in what we do.”

Bishop Malooly said the first responders have a vocation similar to his as a priest. They believe they were called to do this type of work.

“We are grateful that God has called you. It’s always an honor to celebrate this Mass,” he said.