Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine will be the main celebrant of a “Blue Mass” to honor active and retired members of law enforcement, firefighters, emergency services personnel and their families.
The Mass will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast on Friday, May 15th at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public regardless of their religious affiliation.
“We offer this Mass as a way to honor and recognize those who serve the community as police officers, firefighters and EMTs,” said Bishop Estévez. “This is a wonderful opportunity to say thank you and to pray for those who have died while serving us all.”
Co-celebrating the Mass with Bishop Estévez is Father Jason Trull, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and Father Alberto Esposito, pastor of Santa Maria del Mar Parish in Flagler Beach. Father Richard Pagano, parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
The color blue for the Blue Mass relates to the traditional colors worn by police officers and other service personnel. The Mass honors those who have died or have been disabled in the line of duty.
Participating in the Mass are Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre and Chief Jerry Forte, assistant chief of the Palm Coast Fire Department. Students at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School will provide music for the Mass. A flag ceremony with full color guard will occur after Mass. A light reception will follow in the parish hall.
For more details, call (386) 445-7808.
The Blue Mass dates to September 29, 1934, when Rev. Thomas Dade started the service as part of his duties with the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society. The first Mass was held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. and has grown to a nation-wide celebration. The September 29 service was timed to coincide with Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of police officers. May 15 is also Peace Officers Memorial Day and is held annually in honor of federal, state and local officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The first Peace Officers Memorial Day began October 1, 1961 when Congress asked the president to designate May 15 to honor law enforcement officers. President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962.