MinistryNews

Diocesan Blue Mass will celebrate law enforcement, first responders

Share this article

SAN DIEGO — Law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first-responders play a vital role in our communities. The diocesan Office for Life, Peace and Justice will honor that role on Sunday, May 5, by hosting a Blue Mass, named for the color of the uniforms worn by many of these public servants. The liturgy will begin at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Cathedral and will be followed by a reception with complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan, who in April celebrated a diocesan White Mass for those in the healthcare profession, will be the celebrant. Robert Ehnow is associate director for restorative justice in the Office for Life, Peace and Justice, which is sponsoring the event. He told The Southern Cross that, while a Blue Mass was celebrated last year at St. Therese of Carmel Parish in Carmel Valley, he believes that this is the first such liturgy to be organized locally at the diocesan level. He hopes that it will become an annual event. During the Mass, law enforcement officers and first-responders are expected to serve in various liturgical roles, including as lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, ushers and offertory gift-bearers. The bishop will also impart a special blessing upon members of these professions. Deacon Patrick M. Wright, who will be assisting at the altar during the Mass, has served for almost 30 years with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This will be the first Blue Mass he has ever attended. “It means so much to me that the Church has organized a special liturgy for all those who serve in a law enforcement, firefighting and first-responder capacity,” the 59-year-old deacon said. He acknowledged that it was “a sense of service” that had attracted him to a career in law enforcement and a desire to go even deeper that had led him to discern his call to the diaconate. Gathering together Catholic professionals from the public safety sector, the Blue Mass will celebrate their essential work, but also place it in its proper spiritual perspective. “With the Blue Mass, we are reminded that what we do is important — we do make a difference — but all that we do is through Him,” said Deacon Wright. “He is our source of faith, strength and love.”

Jack Didelot, who attended a Blue Mass a few years ago in Cleveland as well as the one at St. Therese of Carmel Parish, will be serving as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at the upcoming liturgy. “A Blue Mass, to me, brings my work life together with my religious/spiritual life because they are so closely related,” said Didelot, 54, who worked as a police officer, firefighter and EMT in Milan, Ohio, before being hired by the San Diego Police Department in 1990. He retired in 2016, but since last November has worked part-time for the SDPD on its Homeless Outreach Team. “There is no greater calling than to serve others,” he said. “Those in public safety have answered that call. When most people run from danger, those in public safety run toward it. It’s not a job; it’s a calling.” In his diocesan position, Ehnow oversees programs that support crime victims and offenders. But he feels that his office can do more for other key players in the criminal justice system, including members of the law enforcement community. He sees this Mass as part of a larger effort to reach out to that population. He also sees it as an opportunity to build bridges. To create a greater sense of unity among the disparate groups that his office serves, Ehnow has encouraged some formerly incarcerated individuals to attend the Blue Mass. “Maybe that’s where the Church comes in, to kind of bring people together, to have that healthy dialogue, and recognize that we’re all in the same community,” he said. All are welcome to attend the Blue Mass and reception. For planning purposes, however, all attendees are asked to RSVP by Monday, April 29. For more information, contact Robert Ehnow at rehnow@sdcatholic.org or (858) 490-8375. The Southern Cross

You May Also Like

Menu