Representatives from the Reading Police and Fire Departments, the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipe and Drums, as well as first responder parents from the Austin Prep community, attended Austin Prep’s 7th Annual Blue Mass for First Responders on Tuesday, October 10th. The Mass is held annually in gratitude for all those who put their lives on the line for others. You can view photos from the day here.
Ava Intoppa '24, School-Wide President, welcomed classmates to the Mass. "This Mass is a very special one for our community as it gives us the opportunity to reflect and show gratitude to those who put our well-being before their own every single day as a part of their own calling."
The Mass was celebrated by Austin Prep alum Fr. Peter Gori '70 O.S.A. who recalled the memory of a traffic violation from when he was 19 years old. "I remember the officer for how he treated me with respect, for he was more concerned with me as a kid to be a safer driver as opposed to wanting to catch or punish me," Fr. Gori said. "Not only was my head touched, in respect to educating, but my heart was touched by the respect with which I was treated."
“First responders deserve our respect for not only what they do for us directly, in our own experiences, but also indirectly, for what they do for society as a whole, each and every day,” Fr. Gori added.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. recalled a recent speaking engagement at the U.S. Naval Academy by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, in which the Cardinal referenced St. Augustine in his address to the Midshipmen. "Gratitude is what I want to speak about this evening," Cardinal Dolan said. "St. Augustine, perhaps the most towering intellectual of Western civilization, observed that gratitude is the first of all the virtues, the door to duty, character and faith; and that a lack of gratitude is the opening to vice, shallowness, selfishness, and a life without God, friends, or meaning."
“On behalf of the Austin Prep community, I extend our gratitude to all the first responders, those present here today, and those who are present in our thoughts, who exemplify the unseen, but the most genuine realities that manifests itself in the life of service," Dr. Hickey said.
After Mass, Fr. Gori blessed the emergency vehicles in the school parking lot and gave a special blessing to the first responders. Following the Mass, first responders enjoyed brunch in the Heritage Room with Austin Prep faculty and staff.
The Mass also featured the debut of the 6th grade choir, which was added to the middle school art and design curriculum this fall. The Class of 2030 Choir performed "America the Beautiful" for the entire school community. You can listen to their performance here.