In conjunction with National Police Week, the Knights of Columbus of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and the Davenport Police Association will host the 5th annual Blue Mass for all Quad-City first responders at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Rev. Anthony Herold will preside over the service. The entire community is welcome to attend.
“This is a chance to bring all first responders, including law enforcement, firefighters, medics, correctional officers, dispatchers, together in a house of worship to celebrate our mission of community caretaking,” said Davenport Police Sgt. Eric Gruenhagen, who also is president of the Davenport Police Association.
“The Blue Mass promotes relationship-building in church where we can also ask for God’s guidance,” he said. “It’s my opinion that the Blue Mass is the ultimate peace rally, bringing the community and first responders together to pray and meet and greet one another and celebrate life. I think we need more peace rallies in opposition to the great division that seems so prevalent in our nation today.”
Mark Gassen, who is a member of the Knights of Columbus of St. Paul the Apostle, said that when he and Gruenhagen were planning the first Blue Mass, he was down at the police station in the evening.
“I’m listening to the radio and I’m thinking, ‘Holy. All this stuff is going on that we, the community, have no idea about. We, as a community, really don’t know what these guys are doing 24 hours a day.’”
The Blue Mass is not about donating or giving money, he said. “The only thing we’re asking is that if you see one of our first responders you offer a smile, a thank you or a handshake,” Gassen said. “Look them in the eye and tell them how much you appreciate all they do.
“Thank God for them and God bless every one of them,” he said.
“This is not just for the Iowa side of the Quad-Cities,” Gassen said. “If you’re a first responder please come join us.”
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 designating May 15 as Peace Officers' Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week.
The law was amended by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322, signed by President Bill Clinton, directing that the flag of the United States be displayed at half-staff on all government buildings on May 15 each year.
National Police Week this year runs from Sunday (today) through Saturday.