Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Dear Friends of US Military Families and Chaplains,

What better way to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice than to recall the words of the Great John Paul II who, addressing military, said:

"I would like to offer a tribute to your many friends who have paid with their lives for fidelity to their mission. Forgetting themselves and despising danger, they rendered the community a priceless service. Today, during the Eucharistic celebration, we entrust them to the Lord with gratitude and admiration. But where did they find the strength necessary to do their duty to the full, other than in total adherence to the professed ideals? Many of them believed in Christ, and his words illumined their existence and gave exemplary value to their sacrifice. They made the Gospel their code of conduct. May the example of your colleagues, who in faithfully doing their duty reached the heights of heroism and, perhaps, of holiness, be an example to you."

This is our faith!

Last Sunday, AMS Archbishop Timothy Broglio was the main celebrant during the 14th Annual Memorial Day Mass held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. EWTN cameras were present in order to make possible its broadcast this Memorial Day weekend (check local listings for time). Immediately thereafter, EWTN will air CatholicMil.Org's production of In God We Trust, written in response to the events of September 11, 2001 and dedicated to today's military personnel and their families. CatholicMil.Org will make available a DVD of In God We Trust (IGWT), as already there has been much interest.

Currently, there are only 297 Catholic chaplains minister to 1.2 million Catholics in their pastoral care. It is not for lack of vocations, but for lack of response. It is our hope "In God We Trust" will also serve to inspire more brave Catholic men to affirmatively respond to the call to serve in the Chaplain Corps.

In a special Memorial Day issue, National Catholic Register features a front page article entitled "They Paid the Ultimate Price" written by Paul A. Barra. The article pays a fitting and reverent tribute, and mentions in particular Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor and Sgt Joseph Richard III. Barra also mentions the only chaplain casualty in this War Against Terrorism, Fr. Vakoc:

"For the Monsoor and Richard families, this is the first Memorial Day after their loved ones’ deaths. But this time of year will always bring back memories for the family of Father Timothy Vakoc.

"It was soon after Memorial Day in 2004 that the Army chaplain was injured by a roadside explosion in Iraq. It was the 12th anniversary of his ordination, and he was returning to base after celebrating Mass...."

Archbishop Broglio's comments on Fr. Capodanno appropriately conclude the article.

The Register is one Catholic publication that regularly commits to covering events and issues of concern to today's military. If there is a military family in your life, give them the gift of a subscription to National Catholic Register. Tell them about CatholicMil.Org, and the intercessor we all have in Servant of God Fr. Vincent Robert Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR.

PS. The Flag Code states: "To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset."

God love you and Christ's Peace,
Judy McCloskey

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