ANTIOCH -- Law enforcement officers and firefighters from around East Contra Costa will be honored at a special church service and luncheon Tuesday.
The Blue Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church, 3351 Contra Loma Blvd.
The Mass, the only one of its kind celebrated in the Diocese of Oakland, is a nondenominational celebration meant to honor, recognize and thank those tasked with keeping the community safe "from Byron to Martinez," said the Rev. Robert Rien, St. Ignatius' parochial administrator.
Tuesday is the feast day of the Guardian Angels, said Rien, who serves as chaplain for Antioch and Martinez police, and the East Bay Regional Park District, along with being available as chaplain of Contra Costa Fire.
"The church considers the police officers and firefighters to be our present-day guardian angels," Rien said.
The Blue Mass was first celebrated in the United States in 1934 as first responders felt a need to ask for God's blessing, Rien said. The service has taken on a more significant role again following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
California Highway Patrol Kenyon Youngstrom, who was shot and killed following a traffic stop last month, will receive a special posthumous recognition and blessing, Rien said.
A luncheon will follow the Mass. All police, sheriff and highway patrol officers, firefighters and agency reporters are honored guests and eat for free.
The event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of East Contra Costa County. For more information, call Steve Rojek at 925-642-2329.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.