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Have you got the Blues?

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Chicago Catholics, instead of feeling blue about the weather, why not feel blue about the mass? I don't mean you should be depressed, of course. I mean you should consider attending a blue mass.

What is a blue mass? It's a special type of devotion that is often used during this time of the year. Blue Mass” means a Catholic liturgy that is held to honor those who have careers dedicated to protecting others. These include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, first responders, crossing guards, public-safety personnel, military, and other law enforcement officials.

The blue mass is given that name because of the predominantly blue-colored uniforms of the people it honors. During a blue mass, dress uniform is typical for those that the mass is remembering, and there is often a presentation of flags and a ceremonial display of the uniformed personnel involved in the service. Blue masses have been around for decades, but they have become increasingly common across the country since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These masses came to the attention of the American public when many blue masses were held to honor those who had fallen in the line of duty trying to save other people's lives. The basic objective of blue masses is for the larger community to show gratitude and thanks for those who serve and risk their lives and safety to help others.

A recent example of a blue mass in the Chicago area occurred earlier this month. St. Christina's on Chicago's south side held a blue mass on February 9, 2014, to honor police, fire, paramedic, 911 dispatchers, crossing guards, public-safety personnel and their families. The Mass was held at 10 am (with a procession in place at 9:45 am), followed by a complimentary breakfast in the school hall (3333 W. 110th St. in Chicago)

If you've never been to one, many churches around the Chicago area plan blue masses on a regular basis. One organization, the St. Michael League, regularly coordinate blue masses at Most Holy Redeemer Church (9525 S. Lawndale Ave.) in Evergreen Park and at Monastery of the Holy Cross (3111 S. Aberdeen) in Chicago. A blue mass for military, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and first responders will be held Feb. 18, at 6 pm, at Most Holy Redeemer, and other blue masses are scheduled for every third Tuesday and every fourth Sunday (For more information on these services, call (708) 422-0206.)

If you're new to the concept, but you would like to pay respect to those who protect others, now you have an opportunity to get your blue on. Find out about blue masses in your area!