Police officers, first responders honored at Blue Mass

| November 2, 2016 | 2 Comments

From left, Ramsey County sheriff’s officers Sgt. Kevin Otto, Undersheriff Terry Soukkala and Deputy Sheriff Mike Schmid attend the Blue Mass for Law Enforcement and First Responders at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul Nov. 2. Jim Bovin/For The Catholic Spirit

With heavy hearts, law enforcement officers and first responders attended the first Blue Mass in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis since 2011.

Recent shootings of police officers in Wisconsin and Iowa warranted a somber atmosphere during the Nov. 2 liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Earlier in the day, two police officers were shot and killed in Des Moines, Iowa. In a unrelated incident, another officer was killed Oct. 29 near Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

“It’s something that weighs heavily on the hearts of most law enforcement officers,” said Sgt. Mike Hankee of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, who attended the Blue Mass.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda presided at the Mass. At the end, he recognized the 20-plus law enforcement and emergency workers present. He noted the significance of honoring law enforcement and emergency workers on All Souls Day, when the Church remembers those who have died but need continued prayers to pass from purgatory to heaven.

“It’s a wonderful day in which we are able to pray for one another and maintain this sense of community, communion of one another,” Archbishop Hebda said.

Several priests who serve as police chaplains concelebrated with the archbishop. Two deacons who also serve in police chaplaincy assisted at Mass, which drew more than 100 people.

In the United States, the Blue Mass tradition began in 1934 when Father Thomas Dade of Baltimore formed the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society and celebrated the first Mass for police officers and firemen. The Mass draws its name from the traditional uniform color associated with those professions.

Catholic News Service contributed to this story.

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