TRENTON, NJ - The rumbling and evocative sounds of the pipe and drum corps … the pomp and circumstance of the color guard in procession … and the community of believers gathered together in prayer.

This is the setting that will await the men and women in law enforcement attending the 18th annual Mass and Celebration of Law Enforcement, also known as the Blue Mass, April 18 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. In announcing this year’s event, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., invited law enforcement personnel of all faiths who live or serve in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties to take part in the gathering dedicated to give thanks to God for their efforts to keep the public safe, and ask God to protect them in this critical work.

Set to begin at 10:30 a.m., the Blue Mass is expected to draw some 600 representatives of the law enforcement community, including police officers, detectives, security officials and others, as well as members of their families and the general public. The event is intentionally scheduled during the week when many children have off from school, so that they too can attend.

The Mass also offers an opportunity for the law enforcement community to honor and pray for fallen officers and their families. Survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will take part in the Presentation of the (Eucharistic) Gifts during the Mass.

Sponsored by the Diocese, the celebration is coordinated by the Blue Mass Committee under the chairmanship Lt. Howard Allaire (Ret.) of the Trenton Police Department. Other departments and agencies who collaborate on this annual event are: State Troopers Fraternal Assoc., NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Assoc., Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, NJ Fraternal Order of Police, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, NJ DOC, NJ State Police N.C.O.A., US Customs & Border Protection, US Marshals Service, ATF, F.B.I., Ocean County 200 Club, NJ State Assoc. of Chiefs of Police and NJ State Patrol Board, along with other local law enforcement agencies.

Following Mass, a luncheon will be held in the Cathedral hall catered by Amici Milano of Trenton. Luncheon tickets are $20 per person. Immediate families of law enforcement personnel are free. Tickets can be obtained the day of the event. St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral is located at 151 N. Warren Street, Trenton. For more information, visit dioceseoftrenton.org/bluemass.