Memorial Day Prayer 2010

Perhaps you remember the days when a "priest, a minister and a rabbi" would be invited to civic events and each would be invited to pray in his own faith's fashion and vocabulary. That's seldom the case now when it's more likely that only one clergy-person is invited and asked to offer a prayer.

Here's the prayer I will use on Memorial Day at one of Concord's several town observances of the holiday.
Because people of many faiths will be present, I have written the prayer to be as inclusive as possible. On the same day my parish will celebrate Mass in our cemetery praying (in our Catholic voice and ritual) for those who are buried there and for all who have gone before us.

Let us pray...

Memorial Day Prayer

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing…

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own

and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,

and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.


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  1. Thank you and the Holy Family Parish for the upcoming Memorial Day Mass being celebrated at, I assume, St. Bernard's Cemetery. I reside far from the Concord area however my parents and grandparents are at rest in St. B's. I will take a moment to "participate" via silent prayer with you on Monday. It makes me feel good knowing someone is "visiting" them. That the visit is for a Mass in their midst would mean so much to them.

  2. Yes, the Mass on Memorial Day will be celebrated at St. Bernard Cemetery in Concord, MA.

    I usually refrain from publishing "parish news" on my blog since my readership is much wider than my parish and parish information is available through the Sunday bulletin and the parish website.

    But this comment caused me to think of inviting all my readers to visit a cemetery on Memorial Day, knowing that many, including those who have gone before us, will be appreciative
    of our stopping, visiting and praying on this day...

  3. Thank you, Austin, for this prayer/poem. I grew up on the grounds of a veterans hospital; my father, a veteran, served as the administrator. The Memorial Day holiday has always been one most dear to each in our family, and the message we learned was about our shared opportunity to serve toward justice and peace. I am grateful for your focus - enjoy the weekend marking this reminder -

  4. Thank you, brother for this prayer. I am a United Methodist pastor and my new parish gives a larger place in worship for Memorial Day than I am used to giving. I have searched for words that honor those who have given their lives and our desire that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth as in heaven. Your prayer has planted the seeds I have been looking for.

  5. Wilson: you're most welcome, brother!

  6. God bless you, Fr. Fleming, for listening to the Holy Spirit and creating a beautiful prayer to honor those who have given their lives for this country.

    Thank you for the idea of offering Mass within the setting of a cemetery. How appropriate on Memorial Day! I will pass this idea on to my pastor, Fr. Tom Kreiser of St. Gregory Barbarigo in Garnerville, NY, and several other priests.

    Continue doing God's work in such a creative, exemplary way.

    God bless,
    ed stubbing


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!