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SOUTH END -- Gratitude was the main theme of Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley's homily Oct. 9 during the annual Mass for Public Safety Personnel.
"We can never repay God's gifts, but we should never cease to thank him. Just as we often take God for granted, we can often take each other for granted," said the cardinal, speaking to the dozens of public safety personnel gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
"Today, we come together to honor our police and fire officials and other first responders. We need to ask for your forgiveness, because, so often, we take you for granted. One of the reasons for this celebration is to thank God for your generous and faithful service, and express our profound gratitude to you and your families," he continued.
The Mass for Public Safety Personnel honors police officers, firefighters, EMTs, corrections officers, and other first responders throughout the archdiocese.
Like the Red Mass for those in the legal profession and the White Mass for those in the medical field, the Public Safety Mass had been a longstanding tradition in the archdiocese until the early 2000s. The Mass was revived in 2014 through a collaboration of the archdiocese's Office of Chaplaincy Programs and Office of Divine Worship with the goal of honoring all those who serve their communities in uniform.
The Mass began with bagpipes and drums, as law enforcement and fire honor guards processed into the cathedral.