May 27, 2019
We wish you a blessed and reflective Memorial Day. While today is an opportunity to take a break from work and spend time with our friends and family, perhaps attend a barbecue or play some baseball with buddies, the real purpose of this day is to remember all those who have died in service to our country and who cannot be present with us today.
The picture to the right shows the “Missing Man” table, which stands as a memorial to fallen, missing or imprisoned servicemembers and is often seen at military ceremonies or events. The table seen here includes a place for four of the five branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy). As Catholics, we appreciate the great value of material things in illustrating spiritual realities, and we certainly see many familiar symbols here, albeit with their own particular meanings: the upturned glasses signify the toasts that the fallen cannot raise with us; the lemon, the bitterness of their fate; the red rose, the blood they shed; the lit candle the hope that lives on in the hearts of their loved ones.
Though death is always accompanied by sorrow, we also hold to the hope of eternal life and resurrection, and to that end we pray continually for the souls of our deceased veterans and of all the faithful departed. Many parishes today will offer Masses for the souls of the fallen, including our parish in Chesapeake, which offers an annual Requiem Mass on this day. We encourage you to attend Mass today for our deceased servicemembers if you can or to offer particular prayers for the repose of their souls, and to pray for the safe return of all our deployed military personnel. +
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine: et lux perpétua lúceat eis. Requiéscant in pace. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.