LEWISTON — Hundreds of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel are scheduled to be recognized for their commitment and self-sacrifice at a Mass next month.

Bishop Robert Deeley is to celebrate the Blue Mass at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on 122 Ash St. People of all faiths are invited to join in showing their gratitude to the public safety community. All active and retired members of that community are encouraged to come with their families and in uniform.

“We are well served by those who protect us and serve us. We need to pause to give them thanks,” said Deeley, according to a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “We do not need to wait until a disaster strikes to be grateful for the dedication of all of those whose life work is the protection of the public. At the Blue Mass, our purpose is not only to thank them for their service to society, but also to thank God for that service, and to ask God’s blessing on each of them.”

Elected representatives at the local, state, and national level are to join the bishop in honoring those who serve in this community. Blessings will be bestowed upon all who contribute to the public health and safety of Maine, and prayers will be offered for those who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Members of the public safety community will fulfill several roles at the Mass, including as readers and gift bearers, and color guards and a multi-jurisdictional honor guard will be on hand. Ladder trucks from the Lewiston and Auburn fire departments will display the American flag across Bartlett Street prior to the Mass.

The Blue Mass (referring to the blue uniforms that firefighters, law enforcement and other first responders wear) dates back to 1934 and is a venerable tradition in many dioceses. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, served as the impetus for the Diocese of Portland to institute the Blue Mass locally.

For more information about the Blue Mass, including its history in the Diocese of Portland, visit portlanddiocese.org/BlueMass.

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