Bishop Deeley, Diocese of Portland Recognizes Dedication of Public Safety Community at Blue Mass in Lewiston
“Our purpose in being here this morning is not only to thank you, but also to thank God for your service, and to ask God’s blessing on each of you.”
September 14, 2014
LEWISTON---A large American flag, held in place atop ladder trucks provided by the Auburn and Lewiston Fire Departments, waved in the breeze as the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps filled the air with a stirring performance of “Amazing Grace.” The indelible scene welcomed hundreds of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel to the 2014 Blue Mass, celebrated by Bishop Robert P. Deeley, at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston on Sunday morning, September 14. The Mass annually bestows blessings upon all who contribute to public health and safety in Maine.
“Our purpose in bringing you together is to express gratitude for the service you offer us,” said Bishop Deeley to the first responders and rescue workers gathered. “These calls to public service confer an incredible responsibility and, as such, demand the public trust. At times they are taken on at a profound personal price which, sadly, can even include the ultimate sacrifice of the very lives of you who serve. Our purpose in being here this morning is not only to thank you, but also to thank God for your service, and to ask God’s blessing on each of you. May He protect you as you serve us.”
Law enforcement and public safety agency representatives assisted in planning the Mass, and members of their respective communities participated in it as well. A multi-jurisdictional color guard posted the colors before Mass, while Chief Paul LeClair of the Lewiston Fire Department, Deputy Eric Samson of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, and Officer Michael Lacombe of the Lewiston Police Department served as readers. The Portland Police Department Honor Guard, one of several honor guards in attendance, served as the gift bearers.
During his homily, Bishop Deeley told the public safety community that their work is service in the way the Lord Jesus calls all of us to give to one another.
“Even as we thank you for all that you do, and ask God to watch over you and bless your work, I hope this reflection today reminds all of us that service is not just something we do in our professions,” said the bishop. “It is a way of life, it is the way we define ourselves as Jesus’ followers. And so we are called not just to serve professionally, but also in our families, in our communities, and in our churches. By so living, we, indeed, become co-workers with the Lord Jesus.”
Local and state dignitaries, including Congressman Michael Michaud, Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris, and Lewiston Mayor Robert MacDonald, attended the Mass, joining in recognizing the self-sacrifice and dedication of our heroes. The events of 9/11 served as the impetus for the Diocese of Portland to institute the Blue Mass locally. It is the principal occasion for the diocese to recognize those who protect us throughout Maine.
“May God bless you, and keep you safe in your great responsibilities to the service of the common good,” said Bishop Deeley.