This weekend we mark Memorial Day, a day in which we honor and remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War.
Traditionally it has always been a day when Americans lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Many people observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and war memorials and there are usually parades. Lots of people have family picnics and cookouts as it unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season. Whatever we do this weekend, we must stop and remember in prayer the many men and women who have died in service to our nation.
Let us pray: “God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
This weekend we offer our heartfelt congratulations and prayerful best wishes to newly ordained Deacon Eric Silva. On Saturday he was ordained as a Transitional Deacon by Bishop Evans. You may remember Eric from the summer he spent here at OLM. He will now serve as a Deacon and continue his studies for priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Boston. We look forward to Eric’s ordination to the priesthood next June.
This Friday Fr. Connors is scheduled to publicly defend his doctoral dissertation in Rome. His moral theology dissertation is entitled, “Cooperation with Evil: Toward a Virtue-Based Approach” and it is 354 pages long! Without a doubt, he has been working very earnestly these last two years to complete his doctorate. His public defense takes place in the Grand Aula at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (commonly called the Angelicum). He defends his thesis and its conclusions to a panel of learned professors and theologians.
The Angelicum is administered by the Dominican Friars, so the panel with include several Friars and also the supervisor of his dissertation, the Dominican Friar, Fr. Michael Sherwin from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Father’s public defense takes place in the very same place that St. Pope John Paul the Great publically defended his own doctoral dissertation in 1950. The future Pope and Saint was directed by the renowned theologian and Dominican Friar, Pere Garrigou Lagrange.
Fr. Connors invited me to attend this very special event and so I depart for Rome on Monday. It is truly a distinct pleasure and a great honor to be part of this milestone in his priestly ministry as Fr. Connors becomes a Doctor of Sacred Theology. His only request is that I bring some fine cigars for the celebration! I ask you to please keep Fr. Connors in your prayers this week especially on Friday.
Your prayers for a successful defense of his doctorate are truly appreciated by him. However, I am more than confident that his keen intelligence, tremendous academic ability and great talent along with his hard work and faithful dedication are going to be on full display during the public defense on Friday. But we should pray for him anyway and certainly ask St. John Paul the Great to intercede for Fr. Connors!
While in Rome I hope to offer Masses at some of the special altars in St. Peter’s Basilica including the Altar dedicated to St. Pope John Paul the Great. Please know that I offer all my Masses for your intentions this week. I return from Rome late on Monday, June 4th!
This Sunday our 5pm Sunday Evening Mass ends for the summer months and is to resume in September. Next Sunday we celebrate Corpus Christi with the Eucharistic Procession at the 10:30am Mass. Best of luck Fr. Connors!
Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox!