Above: A firefighter hat and gloves lay on the altar during the 2022 Blue Mass. This year’s service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. at École Notre Dame Elementary School. – File Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Firefighters and other first responders will be honoured by St. Jean Baptiste Parish on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 10 a.m., when the parish conducts a Blue Mass.
The Blue Mass is celebrated annually in many Catholic churches to pay tribute to first responders; the blue in Blue Mass refers to the uniform colour. Rev. Thomas Dade started the Blue Mass in connection with his duties with the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society and held the first service in 1934.
St. Jean Baptiste Church began conducting an annual Blue Mass before the pandemic, and although they took a hiatus, organizers are looking forward to the next one.
“In our case, we also feel that we need to give back to our community in whichever way we can,” said St. Jean Baptiste Parish member and one of the organizers, Noreen Radford, noting the parish’s appreciation of firefighters who fought the 2021 church fire and protected surrounding buildings. “This year, we’ve had horrific [wild] fires in our province and across our country. When you hear about fires, you think of firefighters. But there’s also police service, EMS who are protecting the people.
“This [Blue Mass] is a time for our church to once again say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ Last year, we had a significant participation from our local fire department, and it was greatly appreciated.”
Radford said police, military, the Legion, and municipal, provincial and federal elected officials will be elected, but all are welcome to attend.
The Blue Mass occurs on Sunday, Sept. 24, at École Notre Dame Elementary School (9717 Morinville Drive) at 10 a.m. Radford said the event falls on the same day as the Knights of Columbus’ Family Breakfast at the Rendez-Vous on 104 Street and that the breakfast is an opportunity to talk one-on-one with the first responders who attend.
“It’s an opportunity to say thank you to our first responders and perhaps have a conversation about what it is like to be in service to their community,” Radford said, adding the event is open to all.