Representatives from the Reading Police and Fire Departments, as well as first responder parents from the Austin Prep community, turned out for Austin Prep’s 5th Annual Blue Mass on Monday, November 22nd. The Mass, held annually in gratitude for all those who put their lives on the line for others, returned to campus for the first time since 2019 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Mark O’Connell, JCD Episcopal Vicar of the North Region of the Archdiocese of Boston, who emphasized the importance of giving back while looking out for everyone, especially those on the margins.
“At Austin Prep, you have been given a great foundation, but it is important what you do with it,” Bishop O’Connell said. “Do something with your life that is virtuous. There is no better example than first responders. We saw this during the pandemic. Because of them, we can be safe in our homes, protected from disasters.”
“It is important to be aware of everyone, including the people on the edge, because that is imitating our Lord,” Bishop O’Connell added.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. offered his thanks: “On behalf of the Austin Prep community, I extend our gratitude to all the first responders who are present this morning, and those who are present in our thoughts, including the families of first responders who share in the burden and the sacrifice.”
After Mass, Bishop O’Connell blessed the emergency vehicles in the school parking lot and gave a special blessing to the first responders. Following the Mass, first responders enjoyed breakfast on campus with Austin Prep faculty and staff. Today's Blue Mass comes on the heels of the recent National First Responders Day, which was recognized on October 28th.