Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial day is a secular American holiday to honor those men and women of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives fighting for the United States of America.

Catholics remember the dead in their prayers, asking God to show his mercy and to grant them everlasting life.

The holiday originated in the years following the Civil War and was originally called Decoration day.

It became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Memorial day is celebrated on the last Monday of May each year.

We ask the Lord to bless those who gave the ultimate sacrifice:

Remembering those who rendered that “last full measure of devotion”:

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15: 13

Remembering those who gave all for our freedom:

Deserving to be honored in a special way:

This is the prayer that perhaps rises from us all, when we look at this cemetery. “I am certain, Lord, that these brothers and sisters of ours are with you. I am certain”. We say this. “But please, Lord, stop. No more. No more war. No more of this ‘senseless slaughter’”, as Benedict XV said. Better to hope without this destruction: young people … thousands, thousands, thousands, thousands … shattered hopes. “No more, Lord”. We must say this today, as we pray for all the departed, but in this place let us pray in a special way for these young people; today as the world is once more at war and is preparing to engage more aggressively in war. “No more, Lord. No more”. With war all is lost.

Pope Francis, Visit to Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, November 2, 2017

Religious overtones of a civil holiday:

Memorial Day as a sacred observance:

Therefore, it is good to give thanks for those who have put country and other before self, to pray with those who mourn loved ones who perished on the battlefield, and to intercede for those who continue to struggle in their bodies and minds with the ravages provoked by war. Fathers Lafleur, Kapaun, and Capodanno are sterling examples of those who did not stand looking at the sky. They heard the call to action and responded as signs of the power of God who offered lasting hope.

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, Homily, May 16, 2021

Honor those who died during war by committing to peace:

The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved”, and that for him “all things are possible”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1058

Remembering deceased heroes with reverence, honor, respect, and gratitude:

A virtual retreat for Memorial Day:

Our dead are not Unknown Soldiers.
We know who they are and wither they seek to go.
We know that some may languish in Purgatory until the last earthly stain is wiped away and until the last earthly injustice is repaired .
We also know that we can speed their passage from a Purgatory of shadow and pain to a Paradise of Happiness and light . We can hasten the dawn of eternal rest and the rays of perpetual light.
Our prayers and Masses and works of charity can assist our dead in gaining entrance into the blessedness of heaven.
We love our dead.
We can help our dead.
Let us pray for them always.
Flowers wither upon their graves.
A daily garland of prayers is better than an armful of roses.
As we approach the Golden Memorial hour of the Catholic War Veterans, Eleven o’clock,
Stand for a moment in silence and let there rise from your heart a prayer beseeching Almighty God, the Father of us all, to grant to the souls of our departed comrades, a peace and a glory that is theirs because of the sacrifice they made that other men might live.

Memorial Verse of the Catholic War Veterans, by Rev. Edward Lodge Curran

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