WESTFIELD, NJ — Marking a first for Westfield, first responders last week participated in a Blue Mass — a service celebrated annually for those in the public safety field.

Bagpipes sounded as the Westfield police and fire chiefs led a column of first responders down the center row of a church Wednesday, video posted to the police department’s Facebook page shows.

“This was a great opportunity to gather our first responders to affirm the love and appreciation for them by the Lord and our community,” said Deacon Keith Gibbons, chaplain of the Westfield Police Department. “We give thanks for all the men and women who leave their families at home every day to protect and care for ours.”

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In the United States, the Blue Mass tradition dates back to 1934 when Father Thomas Dade of the Archdiocese of Baltimore formed the Catholic Police and Fireman’s Society, police said. The name “Blue Mass” comes from the traditional uniform color associated with law enforcement.

Along with Gibbons, Westfield Fire Chaplain Reverend Gabriel Curtis, Father Anthony Randazzo of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Father Thomas Nydegger of the Parish Community of St. Helen presided over the mass, which was coordinated by School Resource Officer Tiffany Kenny, police said.

Watch a portion of the service here:

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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