All about the Blue Mass
Father Jayson Landeza
Father Jayson Landeza is the full-time police chaplain for the Oakland Police Department.
He is in residence at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro. He is the former pastor of St. Columba in Oakland and St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley, and until earlier this year served as parochial vicar at St. Joan of Arc in San Ramon.
As police chaplain, he is planning the annual Blue Mass, which will be celebrated by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light at 10 a.m. Oct. 9. The public is invited.
What's the origin of the Blue Mass?
According to the public website, www.criminaljusticeoffice.org, the history of the Blue Mass dates back to 1934, where a Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland, organized the Catholic Police and Fireman's Society while stationed at St. Patrick's Church in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 police officers and firefighters appeared at the church dressed in their blue uniforms for the first Blue Mass, which was celebrated on Sept. 29, 1934. The website goes on to explain that the tradition has continued in the northeastern cities of the US.
What do law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first-responders receive from a Blue Mass?
Through the Blue Mass, first-responders (many of whom are Catholic), ritually receive our gratitude, support, honor, recognition, prayers and blessings from the Catholic community of the East Bay. We also remember the sacrifices that many of these personnel have made on our behalf, sometimes sacrificing their lives in service to us. Perhaps most importantly, we ask God's care and blessing upon them and their families.
As full-time chaplain to the Oakland Police Department, what are you able to do that you couldn't before, when you had pastor or parochial vicar responsibilities?
Serving full-time as a law enforcement chaplain enables me to be more fully available to the needs of department personnel and citizens in a way that I could not if I had parish responsibilities. I served as a chaplain to various departments while serving as a pastor, parochial administrator and parochial vicar, but being freed to serve full-time benefits the diocese's outreach and presence to an important segment of our community.
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