‘God chose you to bear fruit, and the fruits of your labor are many’
Mary Huggins sometimes sees the worst our city has to offer but she deals with the challenges with a foundation of faith.
“I deal with the emergency and then go back to my car and say a prayer,” said Huggins, a lieutenant with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
“I try to live my faith by example every day. It is part of me,” Lt. Huggins said. “My faith has played a vital role in my career, especially when I am working as the night watch commander, a time when a lot of shootings and other crimes occur. Without a steadfast faith in God, I would have a hard time responding to these emergencies. My faith not only helps me do my job in any given moment, but it also gives me the strength to respond to the next call.”
It was moments such as these about which Bishop John Noonan spoke during his homily at the Diocese of Orlando’s 11th Annual Blue Mass, Sept. 28, at St. James Cathedral. Celebrated in Catholic dioceses across the nation, the Blue Mass is a celebration of faith to pray for the dedicated men and women in law enforcement, fire/rescue and public safety. The first Blue Mass was celebrated on Sept. 29, 1934 by Father Thomas Dade of the Baltimore Archdiocese at St. Patrick Church in Washington, D.C.
Bishop Noonan told the congregation of nearly 1,000 people – first responders, officers, paramedics, family and friends — that it is easy to experience God when everything is going well, and people are cooperative and grateful for their help; however, it is when things go awry that they must remain steadfast in their faith.
“Those are the moments that we need to ask ourselves, who is this Jesus,” Bishop Noonan said. “Jesus is not concerned about His identity. He is more importantly concerned about your identity, your identity as police, fire or paramedic. Your function is not a job but it is a vocation — to serve, to protect, to aid. It is important to remember that God chose you to bear fruit, and the fruits of your labor are many. Some may seem challenging and difficult; but, there are those among us who are also very grateful, who are here today to pray for you and your families, and who are here also to thank you for what you do for all the people of Central Florida.”
In his closing remarks, Bishop Noonan echoed the sentiment of all those who participated in the celebration of the Blue Mass when he said, “May St. Michael the Archangel, patron of all first responders, keep you safe and be with you always.”