Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine will be the main celebrant of a Blue Mass to honor members of law enforcement (active and retired), firefighters, emergency services personnel and their families. The Mass will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast on Friday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public regardless of their religious affiliation.
Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Estévez is Father Jason Trull, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast 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 disabled in the line of duty.
“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,” he said.
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 or email Father Jason Trull at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Editorial Note: The Blue Mass dates to Sept. 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 offers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The first Peace Officers Memorial Day began Oct. 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 Oct. 1, 1962.