First re­spon­ders to be hon­ored at ‘Blue Mass’ at Black­stone church

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH FITZGER­ALD jfitzger­ald@woonsock­et­call.com

BLACK­STONE – Po­lice, fire and first re­spon­ders through­out the Black­stone Val­ley will be rec­og­nized for their com­mit­ment and self-sac­ri­fice at the third an­nual Blue Mass on Thurs­day, Oct. 18 at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Black­stone.

The “Blue Mass” is a tra­di­tion where po­lice, fire and EMS re­spon­ders of all faiths gather for a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion and bless­ing for their work on be­half of the com­mu­nity.

The Rev. Robert La­combe will be the main cel­e­brant of the Mass, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the church, 630 Rath­bun St. As­sist­ing will be Dea­con An­thony Gagliani.

Po­lice, fire and emer­gency first re­spon­ders from nine com­mu­ni­ties in Mass­a­chu­setts and Rhode Is­land have been in­vited to at­tend the Mass, which is open to peo­ple of all faiths. Re­tirees and fam­i­lies are also wel­come.

“It is our way of say­ing thank you for all their ef­forts,” says Con­stance D. Per­reault, a parish­ioner and Eucharis­tic min­is­ter at the church.

The in­spi­ra­tion for the Black­stone Blue Mass comes from a long Catholic tra­di­tion in which the arch­bishop cel­e­brates a Mass to honor and bless pub­lic

safety per­son­nel across the Arch­dio­cese.

“While it may ap­pear to be a unique un­der­tak­ing on our part, parishes such as St. Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.; the Basil­ica of Sts. Pe­ter and Paul in Port­land, Maine; St. James Cathe­dral in Or­lando, Fla.; the San Fer­nando Cathe­dral in San An­to­nio, Texas.; and St. Mon­ica Church in San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia, have un­der­taken this trib­ute, so named for the color or the uni­forms these men and women wear in the heroic per­for­mance of their daily un­der­tak­ings,” said Per­reault.

Both the Bos­ton and Prov­i­dence Dio­ce­ses hold Blue Masses ev­ery year. This year’s Blue Mass in Prov­i­dence was held Sept. 30 in the Cathe­dral of Saints Pe­ter and Paul. The Rev. Robert Mar­ciano, pas­tor of St. Kevin par­ish and ad­min­is­tra­tor of St. Bene­dict par­ish, was the main cel­e­brant and homilist. Mar­ciano also serves as the chap­lain for the War­wick Po­lice and Fire De­part­ments as well as the Prov­i­dence Fire Depart­ment.

“We of­fer our prayers for them in the im­por­tant work that they do, and also of­fer our thanks to them and their fam­i­lies for the many sac­ri­fices made for us,” said Mar­ciano. “This is an op­por­tu­nity to come to­gether to rec­og­nize the men and women who risk their lives to pro­tect us and pray for their con­tin­ued safety.”

Many Catholic churches world­wide cel­e­brate a Blue Mass an­nual- ly for those em­ployed in the pub­lic safety field, in­clud­ing po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers, emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel, cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers and 911 op­er­a­tors. The ser­vice hon­ors those who have died in the line of duty and those cur­rently serv­ing as first re­spon­ders. The color blue is a ref­er­ence to the blue-col­ored uni­forms first re­spon­ders gen­er­ally wear.

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