‘Blue Mass’ honors public safety workers

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LEWISTON — Hundreds of police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel and parishioners honored first responders during the annual “Blue Mass” on Sunday at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

The Blue Mass tradition was revived in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland after the terror attacks Sept. 11, 2001, according to the church. The Blue Mass is to pause and remember those who serve and to give them thanks, according to Bishop Robert Deeley.

Deeley praised members of the public safety community for the work they do, saying their service is the way God calls on people to care for one another.

The Blue Mass lets out at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Lewiston Sunday morning as bagpipers play in the middle of Bartlett Street right, under flags hanging from ladder trucks from Lewiston and Auburn. Hundreds of active and retired local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel were recognized for their faithful commitment and self-sacrifice at the annual mass. Visit sunjournal.com to watch a short video from the mass. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Many of the participants in Sunday’s ceremony are connected to public safety, including Deacon Jeffrey Lewis, a chaplain for the Gardiner Fire Department.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson was one of the gift bearers, and representatives from the Lewiston Police Department, Auburn Fire Department, Maine State Police and Portland Police Department comprised an honor guard that posted and retired the colors.

The Maine State Police Pipe and Drum unit performed outside before and after the mass.

Along with basilica parishioners, others attending included U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Public Safety Commissioner John Morris, state senators and representatives, city councilors and area mayors.

Lucien Barnard, 5 of Lisbon Falls looks at songs in the program as Bishop Deely gives the sermon during Sunday morning’s Blue Mass in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
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