Happy Memorial Day! We remember all who have died in the service of our country, and particularly those from our parish. But let us also take the opportunity to remember and thank all of our veterans and parishioners currently serving in our armed forces.
One of my favorite hymns is "We Remember", by Marty Haugen. Here is the refrain:
We remember how you loved us to your death, and still we celebrate, for you are with us here; And we believe that we will see you when you come, in your glory, Lord, we remember, we celebrate, we believe.
The hymn is in reference to Jesus Christ. We could also, however, apply the lyrics to all of our deceased, and in a special way to all soldiers and first responders who have died in the line of duty. We celebrate their bravery and heroism, and that they died for our freedom and safety. Hoping that they are with Jesus in heaven, we can also celebrate that they are “with us here.” Because if they are part of Jesus now, and Jesus is present to us now, then they are present. And we believe that we will see them again when we close our eyes for the last time and meet our Savior.
It's fitting, thus, that Memorial Day weekend and the Ascension occur this year at the same time. Today, of course, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. Christ was “lifted up” (Acts 1:9) and was seated at God's “right hand in the heavens” (Eph 1:20).
Christ has gone before us in heaven, and we are called to follow him where he is. Memorial Day would be a hallow celebration of remembrance without the reality that those who have died are still alive in heaven with God and, therefore, still with us here. And heaven wouldn't exist without Jesus Christ's Resurrection and Ascension!
St. Juliana School will be participating in the Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade tomorrow. Thank you to our School Ambassador Team for organizing this event, to David Plier for procuring a very nice banner for us, to Bob Conway for lending the fire truck, and to all the students who will parade. Great publicity for our fine school!
Next Sunday, June 4th is the First Responders Appreciation Mass here at St. Juliana at 11am. This will be a great celebration and way to honor all who serve. We hope you will be able to join us and, if you are a first responder, we encourage you to wear your uniform to Mass. There will also be a pancake breakfast in the school hall, sponsored by one of our parishioners, Tim Heneghan, to raise funds for bulletproof vests for police officers: an effort called Behind the Vest.
This is a big week for the 8th graders! The Dinner Dance is Tuesday night, followed by the Graduation Mass Wednesday night at 7pm. To the Class of 2017: you've had a great career and we are incredibly proud of you. We hope to see you around the parish and at Mass in high school and know we will be praying for you as you do amazing things for Jesus throughout your lives.
For those who have participated in the 33 Days to Morning Glory Consecration to Jesus through Mary, the end is this Wednesday, May 31st. I hope it has been a grace-filled experience for you. For those who are interested and able, I will offer two sessions to recite your consecration publicly in the chapel: 9am and 6pm. We can also ask Mary to pray for our service men and women, and for all of our deceased.
Yours in Christ,