During Memorial Day Mass at cemetery, Bishop Solis recalls the sacrifice of fallen veterans

Friday, Jun. 02, 2023
During Memorial Day Mass at cemetery, Bishop Solis recalls the sacrifice of fallen veterans + Enlarge
Bishop Oscar A. Solis gives the homily during the May 29 Memorial Day Mass at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — This year’s Memorial Day dawned with sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures, allowing the Mass at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery to be held outdoors rather than in the mausoleum, as is the case in inclement weather.

Before the Mass began, members of the Utah Knights of Columbus raised the flag beside the altar.

Bishop Oscar A. Solis presided at the Mass. Concelebrants were Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general; Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general emeritus; and several priests of the diocese. Assisting were Deacon George Reade, chancellor; and Deacon Dale Dillon.

The liturgical celebration was part of a day “set aside by our nation to remember, to pray for and to honor all those men and women in the military services who valiantly served our country, fought and died for freedom,” Bishop Solis said during his homily, speaking in English and Spanish. “We gather here today to remember the ultimate sacrifice they have done: giving up their lives that we may live freely and enjoy stability, prosperity and peace.”

The bishop acknowledged the grief suffered by the loved ones of those who have died, and also that of veterans who served in war zones.

“We place our prayerful remembrance of our beloved dead in the context of the holy Mass, reminding us of the sacrificial offering of Christ, who gave up his life on the cross for our salvation, for reconciliation and for peace,” Bishop Solis said. “Christ’s heroic act was a fulfillment of God’s promise of healing to those whose hearts are crushed, comfort to those who mourn, and the promise of peace. …”

The Mass “gives us a great occasion to reflect on the selflessness of the heroism of our soldiers, leaving the comforts of their home and their family and putting their lives in harm’s way, that others may live, and make our world a better place to live,” he said. “Their generosity is in stark contrast to society’s culture of individualism that focuses on one’s personal interest, and indifference to the sufferings and needs of others.”

While it is easy to lose sight of what others have done, the bishop said, “the sacrifice we celebrate in the holy Mass and the remembrance of our fallen heroes and veterans on Memorial Day provides us with a beacon of light and a sense of hope. There is no freedom and peace that we enjoy today without sacrifice.”

Heroism inspires great things in others, Bishop Solis said, adding, “Sacrificial love reminds us of the love of God and the goodness of humanity, which serve as inspiration for us to emulate and to imitate.”

Remembering those who have made a difference in the word “is only possible with a grateful heart, a grateful heart that recognizes the goodness of others as well as their generosity. Today, in solidarity with the families, relatives and friends of our fallen servicemen and women, together with the other veterans and those on active duty, we remember, we honor and we pray for each one with gratitude and in hope of their eternal reward in heaven. Let us value their legacy and promote peace in our country and in our world. We pray and entrust their souls into God’s loving and saving hands, to enjoy the lasting happiness they deserve, and may they all rest in peace.”       

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