Created 2-Nov-12
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The Archdiocese of Hartford's third annual Blue Mass, honoring men and women who serve or have served as police, fire and other emergency personnel, took place May 1 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was the principal celebrant and homilist after hundreds of "blue" service employees from all over the Archdiocese paraded down Farmington Avenue and processed up the steps of the cathedral, passing under a gigantic American flag suspended between two Hartford Fire Department aerial trucks. Archbishop Mansell said in his homily that emergency personnel do not run from danger but run toward it, risking their lives. He quoted John 15:13: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." At the close of the Mass, memorial candles were handed out to family and colleagues of personnel who have died in the line of duty in the past year: Firefighter Michel Baik, Trooper First Class Kenneth Ray Hall, Officer Donald Hassiak, Captain Kevin Swan, Sergeant Orville Smith Jr. and Lieutenant Steven Velasquez.
Police on motorcycles form the vanguard of the parade and procession down Farmington Avenue.The American flag is seen from the vestibule of St. Joseph Cathedral before the Blue Mass begins.Motorcycle police pass beneath the American flag before the Blue Mass.Mechanic Steve Tarasek, Machine Shop, Hartford garage, Ladder 4, climbs down from the bucket atop the ladder after securing the American flag.Motorcycle police pass beneath the American flag before the Blue Mass.Police on motorcycles form the vanguard of the parade and procession down Farmington Avenue.Police on motorcycles form the vanguard of the parade and procession down Farmington Avenue.Members of Police Pipes and Drums of Waterbury beat the drum and play bagpipes outside St. Joseph Cathedral.Members of Police Pipes and Drums of Waterbury beat the drum and play bagpipes outside St. Joseph Cathedral.James Celestine, St. Justin Parish, Hartford, member of Knights of Columbus Council 8011, was among the honor guard of the Knights at the Blue Mass.Lieut. Grag Sargis, left, and other members of the Hartford Fire Department stand as the Gospel is read during the Blue Mass.

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