Len Archer of the Knights of Columbus Council 15126 stands next to Father Joe Miller at St. Francis Xavier Church. The Knights of Columbus will hold its second annual Blue Mass on May 5 at the church.

The Knights of Columbus St. Francis Xavier council will hold it second annual Blue Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church on Sunday, May 5.

The Blue Mass honors first responders in the community.

“There are several cities around the country that do first responder Blue Masses. I think it started back in Baltimore back in 1934,” says Len Archer, the PR and communications director for the council.

The Mass will honor a variety of first responders from law enforcement to hazardous materials management.

“Our intent is to honor those who protect our public safety. The policemen, the first responders, the EMTs, the paramedics, sheriffs, highway patrol, hazardous material management, all of those people are encouraged to come,” Archer says.

First responders are asked to bring agency flags from the departments they represent.

“We always ask them to bring their agency flag. The opening procession and Mass is a procession of the flags,” Archer says. “We have the church flag, the U.S. flag and any of their agency flags, and they’re posted on each side of the altar.”

Archer believes the Blue Mass is important because first responders and those in public safety are on call.

“I mean, they work 24/7 and they could get a call any time day or night,” he says. “They normally work a shift, but some of those shifts are 24-hour shifts. Some people have forgotten the service they provide and the duties they perform.”

Archer worked as a first responder before joining the Knights of Columbus.

“I was in the military in the Army National Guard for a number of years and basically worked flood duty in ’93,” Archer says.

The Rev. Joe Miller of St. Francis Xavier says that the Mass is open to people of all faiths.

“They’d be welcome to come and participate as much as they like to participate,” Miller says.

The Blue Mass will be at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 5, at St. Francis Xavier, 2618 Seneca St.

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