Observed in honor of those who died in military service for the United States, Memorial Day reminds us of the beauty of self-sacrifice, particularly in laying down one’s life for the sake of others. Last Sunday, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, hosted its annual Pilgrimage and Memorial Mass at the Basilica, remembering those who died and reflecting on love and sacrifice.
As we observe Memorial Day on May 29, we hope you’ll take a moment to meditate upon highlights from this Mass and the homily given by Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop of the Military Services, USA.
Understanding Our Goal as Catholics
The Mass began with an honor guard of the Knights of Columbus, the posting of colors with representatives from every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the singing of the National Anthem. In his homily, Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop of the Military Services, USA, discussed the aims of life on earth and reminded the faithful to honor “the living who have served or continue to serve our Nation” and to “pray for the repose of the souls of the fallen.”
“We are on a pilgrimage and the goal is not a medal, a challenge coin, or a t-shirt; it is everlasting life. We will never attain perfection in this life and what is ultimately important is entrance into eternal life. There is no question that this world will end and certainly our participation in it will end.
The Lord Jesus does not lie.
That is one of the reasons why we gather here to pray for those who have gone before us.”
Christ Will Sustain Us Through Crises
He declared that as Christians, God has a mission for each of us: to share the Gospel wherever we go, no matter the cost.
“[The disciples] taught us to move forward even in the face of opposition – to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ and the world. We can move forward because we know that the Lord is looking upon us with immense love and sustaining us in the moments of crisis or challenge…
Indeed, ours is the land of the free because the brave have made their home here, but [they] have never hesitated to leave what is comfortable and endanger themselves to ensure that freedom… [and] the Lord who becomes sacramentally present is the same here, there, or in countless military settings across the globe. He looks upon us with love and sends us forth on mission.”
Keep Our Military in Prayer
He also called upon the faithful to pray for those in the United States Armed Forces and their families:
“As the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, we gather to pray for the eternal rest of those fallen in war and those who served, returned to a routine, and then died of old age or infirmity. We pray for… those who carry the wages of war in their bodies, hearts, and minds… along with the families who have paid the price of service either through loss or illness.
Finally, in this perfect prayer we also remember in a special way the priests who served the military or the VA or the foreign service, and have been called back to the Father’s house.”