During the noon Mass on Sept. 11 at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre will celebrate a Blue Mass to honor members both present and past of six Louisville first responder agencies.
All are invited to the liturgy which will give thanks to members of the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Louisville Fire Department, Kentucky State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services and MetroSafe. The Mass will also commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Deacon Greg Gitschier, who is assigned to St. Patrick Church and as Louisville Metro Police Department chaplain, said as a retired secret service member who was supposed to fly into New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, the Blue Mass is personal.
Deacon Gitschier also served as a police officer in Louisville for 11 years.
“I’m half cop, half clergy,” he said in a recent phone interview. He said the Blue Mass is important to him and he invites all first responders and their families to attend.
“Even though this is a Catholic church, don’t think you have to be Catholic to go to it,” he said. “If you’re Catholic, this is a Mass and it counts as your Sunday obligation. But it’s a nondenominational event as well.”
He said it’s a way for the community to show first responders that “we appreciate what you all are doing and for those who have sacrificed, all they’ve given.”
“It’s just a way of saying thank you and we recognize what you’re doing,” he said.
Maggie Cyphers, director of worship for the Cathedral and head of the Blue Mass planning committee, said the celebration will include music by drum corps and bagpipe players from the first responders’ agencies, as well as reading the names of those who have died in the line of duty since the city was established.
After Mass, South Fifth Street will be closed between West Muhammad Ali Boulevard and West Liberty Street for a display of police cars, fire engines, ambulances and mounted officers. The public is invited to greet first responders, learn about their professions and thank them for their service, said Cyphers.
“It’s really good for us to come together to pray for those who deal with everything day in and day out in our city,” she said.
Parking will be available at the Fourth Street Live! Garage at 411 S. Fourth St.