HARTFORD – Commitment to service is profoundly ingrained in the lives of police officers, fire personnel, Department of Correction staffs, emergency medical services employees and other safety personnel. On Sunday, May 5, Archbishop Henry Mansell will honor the men and women who put their lives on the line for others every day, during the fifth annual archdiocesan Blue Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Archbishop Mansell said it takes special people to protect their fellow citizens and the greater community.
"The annual Blue Mass is a fitting opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women who show their bravery, and are the unsung heroes of our communities," he said.
At the Mass, which begins at 11 a.m., the archbishop will especially recognize and honor the Easton Fire Department and the family of the late Lt. Russell Neary, an Easton firefighter who died in the line of duty this past year while responding to an emergency during Hurricane Sandy.
A memorial candle with his name engraved in gold will have on it the Scripture passage from John 15:13, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." It will be presented during the Mass.
Chief John Mancini of the UConn Fire Department and Connecticut State Police Lt. Mark Sticca look forward to the Mass every year. Both serve on the organizing committee for the event.
"The tragic events in Boston during the marathon and the explosion in West, Texas, really show the fortitude and commitment that civil servants around the country demonstrate every day," said Chief Mancini. "The archdiocesan Blue Mass is a small way to show our gratitude to our local heroes in Connecticut."
Lt. Sticca said the spiritual dimension is important. "The Blue Mass has become a worthwhile tradition in the Archdiocese of Hartford by bringing family and friends together to pay their respects," he said. "Families, especially, appreciate the prayers dedicated to their loved ones."
Honor guards from the Connecticut State Police, Hartford Police Department and Department of Correction, the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guar and a representative from the Easton Fire Department, along with the Connecticut State Police Bagpipers, will participate in the opening procession.
The Mass is open to people of all faiths.