East Tennessee law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical responders took part in the Diocese of Knoxville’s Blue Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Oct. 2.
Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated the Mass, with Father David Boettner, rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral concelebrating. Father Arthur Torres, associate pastor at Sacred Heart, served as emcee of the Mass. Deacon Dan Alexander served as deacon of the Word and Deacon Joel Livingston served as deacon of the Eucharist.
Bishop Stika welcomed those serving the community in safety roles and thanked them for their service. Then those in attendance gave the uniformed officers a standing ovation to show appreciation for their service.
Among those attending the Mass were Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and a number of Knoxville police officers, Knoxville Fire Chief Stan Sharp and a number of Knoxville firefighters and first responders, and Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi.
The bishop spoke of how the safety community serves selflessly to protect our communities, with police officers, firefighters and emergency medical responders never hesitating to rush to an emergency to save lives and never seeking attention for their bravery.
Mass began with a Knoxville Police Department honor guard processing in ahead of the Knights of Columbus. The honor guard carried the United States flag, the state of Tennessee flag, and the Knoxville Police Department flag.
A number of firefighters and emergency medical responders who were in attendance were on call, sitting or standing near cathedral exits in case they were called to respond to an emergency.
A bagpipe player greeted the safety officers as they and church members arrived.