Public safety and law enforcement officers from over 30 agencies processed into St. Patrick Church in Washington, DC, today for the 16th Annual Blue Mass, to honor and remember officers killed in the line of duty. Blue Mass began in 1934, when police officers gathered to pray for their fallen comrades and seek God's blessing for their own safety. The tradition stopped in the mid-1970s, but has resumed in grander fashion than ever. The name "Blue Mass" comes from the traditional color of many officers' uniforms.
The principal celebrant and homilist for the Blue Mass was Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. As a special honor this year, Lynn Lyons-Wynne, the NLEOMF's Senior Director of Memorial Programs, was invited to do a reading.
In 2009, 116 officers nationwide died in the line of duty, including six federal officers and three officers from Virginia who were remembered during today's Blue Mass.