WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly one-thousand Catholics gathered in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday for a 4:30 p.m. Mass to honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces, living and deceased. The 25th Annual Memorial Mass of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), was attended by service members from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, senior military officers, veterans, and family members including Gold Star Mothers.
The opening procession was followed by a posting of the colors and the singing of the National Anthem. In the pulpit, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, observed how authentic service to the Nation is an expression of fidelity to Christ’s command to love:
“You know that this annual celebration is an occasion to pray especially for the eternal repose of those who have fallen either on the battlefield or years later. We pray in a particular way for those retired chaplains and other priests who have passed away since our last gathering. We also honor those who serve in the military, those who serve beyond our borders, the Veterans, and those who are wounded in body and spirit. We beg divine mercy upon all of them and we ask for the stamina to imitate their love.
“They exhibit an understanding of the divine commandment, so fundamental and emblematic of the Christian community for all times and in all places. Love makes evident the presence of the Lord and His community. The sacrifice of the military also pushes us forward in the quest for a lasting peace. It is impossible to look at the faces of young men and women committed to bearing arms in service of the Nation and not shudder at the tragedy of losing even one young life.”
Archbishop Broglio implored the faithful to love as Jesus did, universally, and “with perfect generosity,” even to the point of washing the feet of Judas, his betrayer. “We cannot simply follow the world, divide people into camps, and choose which ones merit our love and which not…. Certainly those we honor today served the Nation and put their lives in peril without knowing everyone they were serving: whether they were good or bad. They simply served all.”
Go here to read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily.
The Memorial Mass concluded with the sounding of Taps.
EWTN will televise the Memorial Mass in its entirety across in the United States and Canada on Memorial Day—Monday, May 27, 2019—at 11:00 a.m. (EDST). The broadcast will follow a 10:00 a.m. (EDST) showing of the new EWTN documentary “Frontline Fathers” about the ongoing service of Catholic U.S. Army chaplains in Korea.
CatholicTV will broadcast the Mass on Memorial Day at 10:30 a.m. (EDST) and again that evening at 7:30 p.m. (EDST).