Bishop Sullivan celebrates Blue Mass

Bishop Sullivan celebrates Blue Mass

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Bishop Dennis Sullivan greets people at the end of the Blue Mass at St. Agnes Church, Our Lady of Hope Parish, Blackwood, on Sept. 24. The 12th annual Mass honors the dedication and service of law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency responders who live and work in the Diocese of Camden. Above left, recruits from different public agencies share the sign of peace.

Photos by Alan M. Dumoff, more photos, ccdphotolibrary.smugmug.com

BLACKWOOD – On Sept. 24, Bishop Dennis Sullivan celebrated the 12th annual Blue Mass here, at St. Agnes Church, Our Lady of Hope Parish, to honor local law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical agencies.
The morning service brought together 400 uniformed men and women, and their families.
In acknowledging the work of law enforcement, fire, and medical emergency personnel, Bishop Sullivan referenced Jesus’ words in the day’s Gospel, from Luke 8-19-21: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Just like Jesus and his mother and brothers, Bishop Sullivan said, the attendees “are a family, bonded and connected in charity, admiration, respect and tolerance.”
He also urged all to hear and act upon the word of God, which “puts us in a tight relationship with God.”
The Mass began and ended with spirited playing from drum and pipe bands, and the “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by Tom Brett, Office of the Camden County Sheriff’s Department.
After Communion, the Blue Mass Commission presented Bishop Sullivan with his own badge, welcoming him as their spiritual director.
The Blue Mass “is better than Christmas,” said Jennifer Rauscher, a Gloucester Township Patrolman for the past 12 years. “It brings our family together.”
The gathering “brings us together to celebrate what we do, and remember those we have lost,” said Deputy Chief Dave Harkins, from the Gloucester Township Police Department, and Blue Mass Coordinator.
For the first time in the Mass’s history, students from neighboring schools attended. Eighth grade classes from Our Lady of Hope School; John Paul II School in Stratford; and St. Teresa School, Runnemede, participated.
Tom Mihm, a teacher from Our Lady of Hope, said in a letter to parishioners last weekend that “the students found the day to be full of patriotism and honor to those who have served.”

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