Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day the Catholic Way: It starts with Holy Mass

8 year old Christian Golczynski receives a flag from his father's casket.
2007 | The Tennessean | Aaron Thompson
See story behind the photo here

Today is not the start of summer; it's a day of remembrance for those who gave their all.  I encourage all Catholics to try to find a parish that has Mass at a time that fits into your schedule if at all possible.  This suggestion will come too late for many of you, but not too late to keep it in mind for next year.

I never considered going to Mass on Memorial Day until I got to Assumption Grotto.  As is the custom on every Memorial Day, there will be a flag raising at 9:00 AM at the front entrance, followed by a procession into church where Holy Mass will be celebrated. Then there will be a procession out to the Grotto cemetery to remember the war dead at the monument.   I especially remember my uncle, Eddie, who died after his flying fortress went down just off the coast of Italy in World War II.  I remember his fellow airmen.  I never knew him, but will always pray for him.

All of the temporal things we do for the war dead can't compare to what we can do for the souls of those still in purgatory.  Contrary to popular belief these days, Vatican II did not get rid of purgatory.  Purgatory is a part of Catholic doctrine so it is an act of mercy to pray for the dead.  If our loved ones are in heaven and no longer in need of prayers, those graces will go to other souls in need, so they are not wasted.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Memorial Day at Assumption Grotto, taken some years ago.  The hooded priest is a Cistercian monk, Fr. Aidan Logan, who was visiting a Marine and his family at the parish.

Of course, the birettas came off and the hood went down when the war dead were honored and prayed for

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