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Honoring those who serve

October 6, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

MALONE – The rain didn’t dampen the spirit inside Notre Dame Church, as area law enforcement, corrections, fire, medical and dispatch personnel gathered with Bishop Terry R. LaValley and faithful from around the diocese to celebrate the Blue Mass on Sept. 26.

In addition to a color guard of law enforcement joining the processional, the Mass included the laying of a wreath in honor of those who lost their lives serving others, as well as a ceremonial bell tolling. Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill and Brushton Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Dominic Barse served as lectors for the Mass.

In his homily, Bishop Terry R. LaValley pointed to the readings of the day, in which Joshua “didn’t want to believe that God could work through Eldad and Medad, those two Israelites who were left behind in the camp,” and Jesus’ disciples “didn’t want to believe that God could work through someone who hadn’t received their own seal of approval.”

“Both Joshua and the disciples of Jesus were guilty of throwing roadblocks in the path of God as God made the divine glory known among His people,” Bishop LaValley said. “We are guilty of doing the same when we insist that God can act only in ways that God has revealed to us, when we think that we have a monopoly on God’s grace or an exclusive recipe for how people should be. We make others stumble over our roadblocks when we say to them in our words and actions, ‘If you will jump through my particular hoop or sign on my particular dotted line, then and only then will I certify you as worthy of my acceptance.’ What violence and just plain meanness we have seen in our streets because of this rugged independence. The women and men we honor today place themselves in harm’s way because we refuse to get along.”

Bishop LaValley noted that we are different, but still loved by God.

“You see, the way that God chooses to work in me may be very different from the way that God works in you, and that’s ok, because we think, speak, act and pray differently,” he said. “God made us to be different, but still accomplishing His good purposes in all of us. And that means that each of us gives glory to God as God works in us.”

Blue Mass Chairperson and Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Father Christopher C. Carrara thanked the involved agencies, volunteers and Bishop LaValley for their participation.

“It’s my privilege to acknowledge and thank all the individuals and groups that assisted in making our 2021 Blue Mass a success,” he said. “In particular though, I would like to thank Bishop LaValley for his ongoing support of our first responders particularly in establishing and maintaining the Blue Mass, the members of the Blue Mass Committee…, and the success of the celebration certainly is attributed to a great extent to local support we receive – members of local planning committee who are extremely generous in logistical support, enthusiasm and support of the Mass.”

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