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