Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have tremendous respect and pastoral concern for those who have stepped forward to defend our country. Some carry the wounds of war for the rest of their lives, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They deserve our prayers, respect, and service.
Observing Memorial Day is recognizing the ultimate sacrifice men and women have offered to protect and defend our freedom. What we remember and honor on Memorial Day is heroic sacrifice, much like we honor martyrs in the Church. We acknowledge those who nobly gave of themselves, unto death, for a purpose that was greater than themselves.
Since the days just following the end of the Civil War, Americans have gathered in late May to honor those who died in military service to their country. In the spirit of the day, I also recall, honor, and pray for all those we know who have lived lives of service and sacrifice for the good of others—policemen, firemen, border patrol officers, medical caregivers, priests, sisters and so on. Notice that many of those on that list have been maligned, largely because of the indiscretions of a few ‘bad apples’. There are those in our culture who tend to doubt altruism and self-sacrifice and fail to honor the majority of those who serve for the good of humanity.
The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops had provided a beautiful Memorial Day prayer. Perhaps if you’re having a cookout, you can include it with your meal prayer. It certainly serves to focus on Memorial Day as more than just a three-day weekend to start the summer.
God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called
your sons and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If you are a veteran, thank you for your service.BACK TO LIST