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October 31. 2012 11:57PM

Blue Mass celebrates police, firefighters

Deacon John Morrow of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Concord leads a Blue Mass in tribute to police and firefighters on Saturday at the St. Patrick Parish in Newport. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

NEWPORT - Deacon John Morrow paid tribute to law enforcement and firefighters at the St. Patrick Parish's first Blue Mass on Saturday.

Morrow, deacon of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Concord, was the guest of Rev. Peter Boucher, who came to Newport from the Concord parish several years ago.

A former New York City police officer and volunteer firefighter, Morrow has held the Catholic Blue Mass ceremony in Concord, but it was the first held at St. Patrick's. Boucher said he hopes to celebrate the Mass each year.

As a group of city firefighters and police officers looked on, Morrow praised the efforts of police and fire first responders locally and nationally.

"Once you take up that profession or put on that uniform, you're never off (the job)," Morrow said. "You and our everyday partner, Jesus Christ, can handle anything."

He likened the faith people have in their policemen and firefighters to a personal faith in Christ, making an analogy to the biblical story of a blind man named Bartimaeus, who knew Jesus was walking by without being able to physically see him.

"Bartimaeus didn't know Jesus was there, but by his faith, he knew he was there," he said. "We have faith that you are always there."

He asked public safety professionals to remember that "God is always that third person in the ambulance."

He also paid tribute to military personnel, "our ultimate first responders," and told a story of how soldiers instinctively encircled and protected a group of children near the Pentagon crash on Sept. 11, before being ordered to do so.

"You should ask the question of how were you chosen for your profession," he said. "You are always there to keep us safe and look out for each other."

Finally, Morrow said Jesus is there to help.

"Put Jesus to work for you," he said. "Ask him how to handle things if you need help."

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Dan Seufert may be reached at dseufert@newstote.com.

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