Annual Bangor Blue Mass to honor first responders

Posted Sept. 16, 2009, at 10:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bishop Richard J. Malone will celebrate the fourth annual Blue Mass at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at St. John Catholic Church, 207 York St.

The commemorative Mass honors law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel, according to Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

It is the first time the Mass will be held in Bangor. For the past three years, the Blue Mass has been celebrated at the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul in Lewiston, Bernard said Wednesday.

Members of public safety agencies have been invited to attend the Mass in uniform. Color guards will be on hand, and the Maine State Police Pipe and Drum Unit will perform outside the church before and after the Mass.

In recent years, the Blue Mass has been held in September to remember the first responders who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The first Blue Mass to honor police officers and firefighters was held on Sept. 29, 1934, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., according to the Knights of Columbus. The Rev. Thomas Dade of the Archdiocese of Baltimore initiated the celebration for the Catholic Police and Firemen’s Society while serving at St. Patrick’s in the nation’s capital.

While the tradition remained common in the Northeast, dioceses around the country adopted it eight years ago.

The Blue Mass in Bangor is one of three commemorative Masses to be held this year to honor workers in particular professions, according to Bernard.

The Red Mass to honor judges, lawyers and others who work in the legal profession will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

The White Mass to honor doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession will be held Feb. 8, 2010, at the basilica in Lewiston. A time for the Mass has not been set.

Last year, a Green Mass for those who work outside or in jobs related to the environment was celebrated for the first time in Millinocket. Bernard said that a Green Mass in 2010 has not yet been scheduled.

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