Under cloudy skies, Bishop W. Francis Malooly celebrated the 59th Annual Memorial Day Field Mass at All Saints Cemetery in Wilmington on Monday, May 28 at 10 a.m. It was the bishop’s tenth time to celebrate the annual event.
The annual Mass honors all the deceased of the Diocese of Wilmington, especially those who served in the military, heroes who died in the service of our country, and those first-responders who gave their lives in the name of public safety.
The Mass was preceded by a military salute offered by Newark VFW Post #475, and prayers at “Bishops Row,” the gravesite of several former bishops of the Diocese of Wilmington. Local Boy Scouts, Knights of Columbus honor guard and students from St. Mark’s High School also participated in the ceremonies and Mass. Several priests from the Diocese were concelebrants.
Before his homily, the bishop thanked those responsible for making the event happen: Cemeteries office staff, priests and deacons in attendance, students and the Knights of Columbus for their contribution to the day. Remarking that this was the largest group of Knights he had seen, the bishop said, “You pay honor to our loved ones by being out in such great numbers.”
The bishop drew from the readings for the day for his homily.
• “In the second reading, Paul writes to the Romans about our being connected with Christ through Baptism. Pope Francis had an interesting analogy — he said ‘in baptism, you are grafted to Christ.’ We are adopted children of God, we are, in a very practical way, connected to him directly through his gift of his life for us. That second reading from Romans reminds us of how fortunate we are.”
• “The reason the Lord says (‘Whoever loves his life will lose it’) is that we are called — not to be self-oriented — but other-oriented. The second great commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to look at any person created by God and recognize that no matter how horrible that person might be, they are part of God’s great issue and demand our respect.”
• “As Catholics, as believers, we have three perspectives: We look back, we look ahead and we live out today. We look back in gratitude, and remember. And on a day like today, it’s a good time to talk — when we gather at home — talk about the members of our lives who have given so much that we are where we are today. The more we reminisce and share memories, the stronger we are in the present moment.”
• “As believers we look ahead in hope because we know that the death represented throughout this whole property is simply a moment, it’s when the life leaves the body— from life, to the moment of death, to new life —and we look ahead because we know … Jesus destroyed sin and he opened the gates of heaven and we will be the beneficiaries of that.”
• “But I think what is most important is how we live out each day. Today’s pilgrimage, that’s why the memories are good, because they force us to pick up the legacy of the good people before us, and make sure we make it our own for the next generation.”
• We are all called to “continue to bring the Lord’s goodness to others. We’re all called to be disciples of Jesus, to witness the good news, to share that with others. We know the benefits, there are many people in the world today who do not.” We need “to share the good news because we are so blessed and others can be blessed too. “
• “So today, we remember in prayer all those who have given their lives for us, those who have served our country well, our ancestors … who have prepared life well for each of us. It’s a time to be grateful, a time to look ahead and hope, and a time to recommit ourselves to live out each day as best we can.”