As Catholics celebrate Memorial Day this year, they should keep in mind not only the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives in service to the country, but also Christ’s sacrifice, which is at the heart of our faith, said Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton.
In a message to the faithful of his diocese, Bishop O’Connell noted that Memorial Day is often celebrated with cookouts, swimming, and parades, as well as visits to military cemeteries to honor veterans who have died in service to the country. He called on Catholics to remember the memory and sacrifices of those who have fallen.
“Memorial Day honors those brave women and men who proudly wore the uniform of our armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifices that have become the lifeblood of our republic,” he said. “It is entirely fitting that we remember them with gratitude and pride.”
The faithful can also see in the sacrifice of fallen veterans a reminder of the sacrifice of Christ, and a call to lay down their own lives in service to others, Bishop O’Connell said.
“For Catholics, sacrifice and dying for others is the very root of our faith,” he said. “We need look no further than the Crucifix that is the central symbol of our religious consciousness to remember how the Lord Jesus redeemed us through his death and freed us from sin.”
The bishop recalled Christ’s words that “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“The sacrifices made by our countrymen and women throughout American history are a reminder of Christ’s message,” he said.