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.
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