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Bishop Celebrates Annual 'Blue Mass' In Portland

Screen shot from the virtual service
Caitlin Troutman/Maine Public
Bishop Deeley of the Portland Dioscese conducts this year's "Blue Mass" at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Portland Sunday.

Parishioners and clergy in protective masks gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland - while others tuned in virtually - for the annual "Blue Mass" service in Portland Sunday honoring first responders.While COVID-19 restrictions made the physical gathering smaller and different from previous years, Bishop Robert Deeley emphasized how the pandemic has brought into focus the work - and the risks - first responders take on.

“Our first responders are the ones who are called to transport the sick to the hospital, never being sure that they themselves may end up being infected by this virulent disease," Deeley said.

Deeley also called attention to first responders fighting wildfires in California and those in the Gulf Coast aiding people in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.

The Blue Mass service, named for police officers' blue uniforms, became an annual event following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to honor the first responders who died.

Deeley also recalled the recent anniversary of September 11, and the toll the event took on firefighters and other public safety workers who rushed to the scene.

"Just a few days ago, we marked the anniversary of September 11. It was 19 years ago that a terrible attack was made in our country, resulting in much destruction of property and the loss of over 3000 lives. Many of those lost were first responders, firefighters, police and EMT personnel."

Deeley also commemorated first responders aiding the sick during the COVID 19 pandemic, fighting wildfires in California, and those in the Gulf Coast helping people in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.

Caitlin Troutman is the Digital News and Content Producer for Maine Public. Caitlin worked as a writer and editor for various publications before discovering her love for public media at KCUR in Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Critical Theory from the Oxbridge Honors Program at William Jewell College and the University of Oxford. She joined Maine Public in 2018.