A dedicated group of about 40 people gathered Monday, May 31 at St. Joseph Cemetery in Norwich under gray skies to honor the U.S. Armed Forces men and women who have died in military service to our country.
The Memorial Day Mass in Norwich, as well as a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in New London, marked a return to in-person observances of the holiday.
Masses also took place in other cemeteries throughout the diocese.
"We come together as God's family on this Memorial Day to offer our prayers and in a special way to remember all servicemen and women who gave their lives so that we could live in peace, and in freedom,” Monsignor Les Janik, Vicar General, said at the Norwich Mass. “Any time we put the TV on and look for the news of the whole world we begin to appreciate more and more the freedom that we have, the peace that we have. The freedom that we presently enjoy in this land cost many lives down through our history. That is why, each year we show our gratitude by our presence in our cemeteries, offering the Mass, the Holy Eucharist, and our prayers for those who died in defending our freedom and our peace."
In New London, the Mass was moved indoors because of damp conditions at St. Mary Cemetery.
“Our country celebrates in a very special way those who defended our freedoms,” Bishop Cote said. “But we remember, as well, our loved ones who have gone before us, we want to remember those who have succumbed to the great virus and those who mourn their passing. We bring all of those people to our prayer.”
Bishop Cote said the Mass was offered for the brave men and women of the military who died for the country and its freedoms.
“We also pray for the protection of all military personnel wherever they may serve,” as well as those who were maimed and continue to suffer, he said.
by Ryan Blessing
It is the Soldier, not the minister,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Charles M. Province