Bishop Solis extends invitation to Holy Mass on Memorial Day
Friday, May. 22, 2020
Bishop Oscar A. Solis is shown during the 2018 Memorial Day Mass at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
It is the time of the year again when we as a nation stop to pray for and remember the courageous men and women in the military service who died for our nation so we may enjoy God’s gift of freedom, justice and peace. Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day because people went to decorate the many graves of those soldiers who died in the Civil War with flags. Since then, it has become a beautiful and more inspiring celebration as families, friends and comrades spend time together in the cemetery to pay tribute to and thank all those who gave their lives gallantly and selflessly for our country that we may be free.
Through the years, I have celebrated Memorial Day Mass in various cemeteries in the different dioceses where I have served throughout the nation. My common experience is the overpowering emotion of the family members left behind by their loved ones, remembering their deceased heroes with reverence, honor, respect and gratitude. It is quite a touching moment to witness the mixture of grief and joy of being together around their cemetery resting place.
Memorial Day during Easter season helps us see its deeper significance in line with our faith as we focus on the resurrection of Christ and his Ascension to heaven to open the gates of heaven for all Christian believers. It gives us a sense of joy and hope, believing in our eternal union with God in the afterlife. This is what we pray for on this day. With faith, we commend them to our merciful Lord that he will welcome those who died and believed in him to a place he prepared in order to enjoy lasting rest, happiness and peace with him forever. St. Ambrose, an early Father of the Church, once said, “We have loved them in life. Let us not abandon them in death until we have conducted them by our prayers into the House of God.”
Therefore, let us bring to mind not only the inspiring legacy of our military heroes and their sacrifice to our country but also the valuable lesson for us that freedom and peace are not only worth fighting for but also worth dying for. Such memory helps us cherish their acts of heroism with gratitude and inspires us to take the responsibility of building a peaceful world for our generation and the next.
Jesus, in the Bible, told us that, “No one has greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Memorial Day is a great occasion to offer our special prayers for our deceased military men and women and those still alive, to acknowledge their service gratefully and give them the honor they deserve, mindful of the blessings of freedom and peace they have fought and died for us and for the world.
I invite all the members of our faith family to join the Memorial Day Holy Mass on Monday, May 25, at 9 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, livestreamed through the YouTube channel cotmtv. Let us pray in honor and grateful remembrance of our beloved men and women in the military service, and learn to become people of peace. For peace and freedom to reign in our world, may it begin in our hearts.