Active and retired members of police, fire and medical first responders, their families and friends joined parishioners from Our Lady of Angels Parish in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood on Oct. 8 for the annual Blue Mass. Father Rob Ramser, OLA administrator, was the celebrant. He was assisted by Deacon Mark Yantek.
The liturgy recognizes members of the safety forces and other first responders for their service and pays tribute to those who died during the past year. All first responders, including police officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders, sheriff’s personnel, Cleveland Metroparks police and Ohio Highway Patrol officers were invited to attend.
(See photo gallery above.)
OLA traditionally hosts the Mass because its former pastor, the late Father Russ Lowe, served as chaplain for the Cleveland Fire Department. A previous pastor, Father John Cregan, also was a chaplain for Cleveland safety forces and for the Greater Cleveland Safety Forces Holy Name Society. During his tenure the parish regularly hosted the celebration.
Many first responders at the Mass wore their dress uniforms. Also represented were members of the Retired Irish Police Society of Cleveland, who wore their traditional green blazers and gold ties.
After processing in behind a piper and an honor guard carrying flags, first responders in uniform sat in the front pews.
The liturgy included reading the names of all first responders who died since the previous celebration.
The origins of the Blue Mass date to September 1934 when the chaplain for the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society in Washington, D.C. organized a Mass for the, to coincide with the feast of St. Michael, the patron saint of police and firefighters. The celebration spread nationwide as a way to show appreciation for first responders.