Best Practices: Blue Mass Offers Stirring Tribute to Police, Fire and EMS

Use the Catholic Business Journal's FREE event posting page to announce events that bridge the gap between work and faith!  The news story below is an example of such an event, the Blue Mass, honoring the brave faithful who serve us daily in our police, fire and ems first-responder units. You'll find a partial list of Blue Masses around the country.  If there isn't yet a Blue Mass in your diocese, maybe this article will inspire one for next year! Pass it around.—ed.

BRIDGEPORT—With a large American flag draped from a rescue company ladder across Shelton Avenue in historic Nichols section of Trumbull, fire, police and emergency medical services workers processed in a long blue line toward St. Catherine of Siena Church for the annual 9/11 Mass. (for photos, click here)

They were met at the front door by the Most Rev. William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, along with diocesan priests and deacons who serve as chaplains to area police, fire and rescue companies. The mass was celebrated on Sunday September 12.

At the Offertory, the widows of Bridgeport Fireman Michel Baik and Steven Velázquez brought up the gifts, while members of the Trumbull police, fire and EMS placed uniform cap, helmet and a stethoscope to represent their professions at the altar. The helmets and hats of fire and police who had lost their lives in the line of duty this year were also brought forward.

"May we have the courage to wear the uniform, the humility to serve and finally and most importantly, the hope that we can do something good each day," said Fr. Charles Allen, Special Assistant to the President of Fairfield University and chaplain to the Fairfield Police Department.

Fr. Allen said that given the courage and selflessness demonstrated by rescue workers in Fairfield County, they could well give the sermon themselves. He said that like priests, police, fire and emergency services workers all wear a uniform, submit to a hierarchy for the common good, and work to make the world a better, safer place.

He said that in New York City both the fire department and clergy began wearing uniforms at the same time in 1840. Prior to that they wore street clothes. He added that the uniforms turned their lives into symbols of the job.

Special Awards will be presented to four area emergency personnel including Norwalk Police Officers John Taranto and David Vetare were recognized for a difficult boat rescue that saved the life of a suicidal man. New Canaan Firefighter Fighter Alfredo Bueti was honored for risking his life while pulling a driver out of a burning car wreck; and Captain Matthew Palmer, Fire Office & Emergency Medical Technician, Stamford Fire Rescue Department, was awarded for saving the life of a man who was felled by a heart attack.

After Bishop Lori's final blessing, taps was played by James Buchta. In a stirring conclusion to the Blue Mass, the combined Fire, Police and EMS Color Guards processed out while the choir sang The National Anthem and the congregation joined in America the Beautiful.

Serving as 2010 Blue Mass Chairpersons are Father Robert Post of St. Thomas More Parish in Darien, Chaplain for Stamford Fire & Rescue Department; Sir Knight Michael F. Basso, Past District Deputy 36; and Deacon John J. Moranski, Chaplain Bridgeport Police Department.

Chaplains of the Fairfield County Fire, Police and Emergency Medical Service Departments include: Fr. Charles Allen, S.J. Fairfield Police; Fr. J. Barry Furey, Noroton Heights Fire; Fr. Richard Futie, Stamford Police; Msgr. Blasé Gintoli, Fairfield Fire; Fr. TTom Lynch, Stratford Fire; Fr. Joseph Malloy, Bridgeport Fire; Msgr Franc McGrath, Westport Fire and Police and Noroton Fire; Deacon John Moranski, Bridgeport Police; Deacon William Murphy, Germantown (Danbury) Fire; and Fr. Raymond Petrucci, Danbury Police.

The annual Blue Mass was initiated by Bishop Lori to commemorate the lives of those who died in the tragedy of 9/11/2001 and to honor the lives of police, fire and EMS who serve in Fairfield County. The Mass of Thanksgiving is sponsored each year by the Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus.

Other Blue Masses celebrated each year include:

Washington D.C. Archdiocese: (16th annual)  http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/bluemass.shtml

New York Archdiocese: http://www.artaid.org/bluemass.html

Galveston-Houston Diocese: (2009 article) http://thepolicenews.net/default.aspx?act=newsletter.aspx&category=News+1-2&MenuGroup=Home&NewsLetterID=15272&startrow=28&&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Juneau, Alaska: http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/082910/nei_701796754.shtml

New Jersey: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20100928/NEWS/9280368/Perth-Amboy-church-hosts-9th-annual-Blue-Mass

New Orleans, Louisiana: http://fwix.com/nola/article/268c6a6d55/fourth-annual_blue_mass_to_be_held_at_oll

Orlando, Florida: http://www.criminaljusticeoffice.org/bluemass.html

Prattville, Alabama: http://progress.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20101027/PROGRESS02/10270372/1042

Rochester, New York: http://www.dor.org/index.cfm/news/events/events-docs/annual-blue-mass/

Springfield, Illinois: http://www.catholicbusinessjournal.biz/displayEvent.php?id=111

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