The color is red. The color of the Mass vestments that the Priest wears for this Mass are red because this liturgy is for the Vigil of Pentecost Sunday. Red is the color of God the Holy Spirit, God the Holy Ghost, Who came down from Heaven as like tongues of fire upon the Apostles in the Upper Room on that first Pentecost Sunday. Red also reflects the “Tongues of Fire” that came down upon the Apostles.
Red is also the color of martyrs: those who were willing to die for their Apostolic Faith. Each of the Apostles would face martyrdom as they courageously presented the law of God, the new and eternal Testament. God the Holy Spirit strengthened them for their bloody trials; red being the color of blood being shed for God and His laws.
Today we honor and pray for the police and law enforcement officers in Beaver County. We welcome all of our men in blue, willing to shed their blood, to uphold and enforce the law; remembering that Almighty God is the Supreme Law Giver. May God the Holy Ghost come down upon Beaver County’s finest gathered here today. May God the Holy Ghost strengthen, guide, and protect you as you place your life on the line every day for the good of God’s people.
In the Catholic Church, we believe that God the Holy Ghost comes down upon us, in a special way, during the Sacrament of Confirmation. The good Sister that taught my Confirmation class back in the day told us that Confirmation would make us “soldiers for Christ,” willing to suffer and die for the Faith. I liked the idea of being a soldier for Christ, fighting for the Faith. She said that to symbolize this, the Bishop would take his right hand and ‘slap’ us across the face to remind us that we have to be tough; we had to be soldiers for Christ. Well, I was prepared for the challenge!
Then, I saw the Bishop. The Bishop at the time was a huge man, Bishop John Wright. His hand looked there was a kielbasa on every finger, with an enormous ring on his right hand that looked like it weighed a pound. I figured that when Bishop Wright slaps me, that it was really going to hurt. So I braced myself for punishment and manfully advanced in line waiting to be bludgeoned with this gigantic right hand.
Finally, arriving in front of the Bishop, he wound up his arm and then… gently touched my cheek. There were no stars or lightning. When he did that, I looked at him expecting more, but I did not get any more. Someone said “next, next” and I had to move on. I felt short-changed! I questioned the Sister afterwards wondering if I had been Confirmed since the Bishop did not hit me. Sister simply said: “The Bishop did indeed Confirm you. He was just teaching you that the suffering would come later.”
The suffering would come later. Red is the color of suffering and martyrdom. Red is also the color of God the Holy Ghost. We commend the courage of our police and law enforcement officers that often place themselves in harm’s way to protect the community. Sometimes you will get that hard slap in the face, but may Almighty God always give you the strength and courage to endure these affronts and to perform your job as you were sworn to do. And I know that if you pray, God will give you that strength. He will confirm you in your vocation to uphold the law.
May God the Holy Ghost watch over you always to strengthen, guide, and protect you every day of your lives. And may all of those officers who have passed before us, especially those who have died in the line of duty, through the mercy of God, may they rest in peace. Amen.
In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
At the Blue Mass Banquet, a prayer composed by an anonymous police officer to Saint Michael the Archangel, the Patron Saint of Police Officers, was read:
Police Officer's Prayer to St. Michael
Saint Michael, heaven’s glorious commissioner of police,
who once so neatly and successfully cleared God’s premises
of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional
eyes on your earthly force.
Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for
investigation and wise judgment.
Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and
law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores,
strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations.
You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences
with the devil that the police officer's lot on earth is not
always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so
pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the
devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration.
And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your
heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the
throne of God as we have been to guard
the city of all the people. Amen.
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