FRESNO, California (KSEE) — Law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel from all over the Central Valley came together in Fresno for the 7th annual Blue Mass.
Patrol cars and ambulances were hard to miss around St. John’s Cathedral Friday — but not because something bad happened. They all were there to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other first responders.
The service not only gives first responders a chance to strengthen bonds across all agencies. Those who attend say they feel the community’s support even after it ends.
Bishop Joseph Brennan presided over the mass.
“Knowing Bishop Brennan is praying for us and the people of the community that come to this mass are also praying for us — it just gives you a really good feeling knowing we have prayer behind our jobs,” said Division Chief Pete Marquez, Tulare County Fire Department.
The service continued outside, with Bishop Brennan blessing first responders’ vehicles. This is his first Blue Mass since he was installed in May. He said seeing so many different agencies together shows how much public safety is a priority in the region.
“It’s about protecting people, it’s about protecting vulnerable people, and it’s about protecting children, too,” he said. “They help us with that immensely.”
For many of those attending, the service gives the little push needed to know their work is appreciated.
“You feel refreshed, you feel good as a law enforcement officer to be able to come and get a special blessing at a mass like this,” said Sgt. Adam Maldonado, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
While this happened at a Catholic church, people of all faiths were welcome to attend.