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Hundreds Brave Rain to Attend 30th Annual Memorial Mass at Basilica

WASHINGTON, DC — Hundreds of Catholic U.S. Military members, war veterans, and others braved damp weather and slick streets on Saturday, commuting to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the 30th Annual Memorial Mass. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, celebrated the Memorial Mass, as he does each May, to honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces, living and deceased. EWTN recorded the sacred liturgy and will broadcast the Mass in its entirety on Memorial Day, May 27, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

Colorful uniforms and flags splashed the nave of the Great Upper Church with bright shades of red, white, blue, green, and gold as senior active-duty and retired officers, midshipmen, members of the Military Council of Catholic Women (MCCW), friends, and family, including Gold Star Mothers, lined the pews for the 4:30 p.m. Mass. Singing over a thundering organ the Choir of the Basilica led the Congregation in the opening processional hymn, Veni, Creator Spiritus, as the celebrants made their way up the center aisle behind a Knights of Columbus color corps. Upon reaching the sanctuary Archbishop Broglio incensed the altar, a color guard of ROTC cadets from The Catholic University of America posted the colors, and all raised their voices in the National Anthem.

Preaching the homily, Archbishop Broglio implored the faithful to pray for an end to war “in Ukraine, in the Holy Land, in Africa, Haiti, and elsewhere.” He said, “Like the abundant incense we use, let our intense prayers for peace and an end to suffering rise to the Throne of Grace.  May the Lord God hear and answer us.”

His Excellency reminded those gathered of the purpose for the special Mass:

“Indeed we gather together on this Vigil of Pentecost, because we want to pray for those who have given time, talents, and even their lives in order to defend this country.  The U.S. military has a proud history and has repeatedly paid the price to defend our Constitution, to further liberty, to fight aggression, to feed and shelter the needy, and to protect the downtrodden.  This evening we pray in a special way for all of those who have completed their earthly journey and we beg Almighty God to be merciful to them and invite them into the fullness of life.

“We also pray for and honor those left behind.  Gold Star families, spouses, and others who suffered a loss.  While death is the threshold to life without end, it still leaves us orphans or deprives us of the companionship of a spouse, brother, sister, or friend.  In Christian fellowship at this perfect prayer we also want to offer sympathy and comfort to those who mourn.

“So also in recognizing sacrifice for good, we hold up to the healing Lord those who still pay the price of their service in bodies racked by pain or limited in movement or in mind and spirit still weakened by depression, fatigue, the effects of trauma or the memories of shattering experiences. In our prayer and outreach we want to remind them that they are not alone, but rather a part of this large family of faith.”

Starting around 90 minutes before Mass, priests heard confessions, some of the congregants prayed the Rosary, and the choir, under the direction of Dr. Peter Latona, performed a choral prelude. Mass ended with the sounding of Taps in solemn memory of those who gave their all in defense of liberty.

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