This last Monday of May is a federal holiday to honor all those who lost their lives while serving our country in the armed forces. Many people consider Memorial Day the beginning of summer and a time for barbecues and relaxing at the beach or in the pool, but it’s so much more than that.
This day is a chance to enjoy our many freedoms, but it’s important to take time during the holiday weekend to recognize and thank those who have made those freedoms possible and given everything to protect what we have today. And our Catholic Faith teaches us that we can give them something back in return.
It’s a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the dead, so pray for all the souls of the men and women who have died in service to the United States. You could attend Mass at your local parish, watch our Memorial Day Mass at noon CT on Relevant Radio, or pray a Rosary for the repose of their souls.
Memorial Day is also a great chance to visit a cemetery. You’ll likely see American flags at the gravesites of all military veterans, so take a walk around and pray for these souls by name. If you have a deceased veteran in your family, you may want to plant a flower by their headstone. Here’s a simple prayer for a departed soul:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
The National Moment of Remembrance occurs each Memorial Day at 3pm in your local time zone. Americans are asked to pause for one minute of silence to remember the lives lost in military service. As Catholics, we can do better than 60 seconds. Since 3pm is also the hour of Divine Mercy, why not pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet for those souls?
We give thanks, Lord, for the blessing of our freedoms and for the ability to celebrate Memorial Day with our family and friends. We pray for the men and women who have died to protect our freedoms and for the families they have left behind.
Prayer for Memorial Day
from the USCCB
God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.