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Blue Mass Thursday marks 18th anniversary of terrorist attacks

Area first respondents and emergency personnel are invited to the annual Sept. 11 Blue Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca to remember the brave heroes of the terrorist attacks against the United States on that day 18 years ago. 

The worship service, coordinated by the parochial school’s Student Body officers and the Knights of Columbus, will also offer prayers for all emergency workers who risk their lives every day in their line of work, with special blessings extended to them by the presiding priest and the entire church assembly.

The Blue Mass will be held during the weekly students’ liturgy on Thursday starting at 9 a.m. All emergency personnel in the area are invited. They don’t have to be parishioners to attend. Members of the student body went to local police and fire stations and other emergency facilities to personally extend the invitation to the prayerful occasion.

Among the special guests who attended last year’s Blue Mass were firefighters, police officers, Sheriff’s deputies, and other first responders and their guests.

Students will be doing the readings and will be leading the prayers of the faithful. The school choir will provide the service music under the direction of parish music minister Guillermo Garcia, Jr.

Immediately following the service will be a reception in the church cafeteria.

The September 11 attacks, also referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 others, and caused at least an estimated $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

A Blue Mass is a Mass celebrated every year in the Catholic Church for those employed in the “public safety field” that include police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, 911 operators, and EMS personnel. The worship service is an opportunity for the community to show gratitude to first responders and their families.

St. Anthony of Padua Church is located on the corner of Fremont and North streets in Manteca.

For more information about Thursday’s Blue Mass, the K-8 parochial school, or the Knights of Columbus, call (209) 823-4513.