Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/26/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Happy Memorial Day weekend. And to all who serve in the Military, Thank you and God Bless you!

I am always drawn to these words of Jesus on Memorial Day weekend, \"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one\'s life for one\'s friends.\" (John 15:13) Military service which leads to laying one\'s life down is certainly an expression of this kind of heroic love. It also deserves to be honored. Those who witness to it are champions - and we should stop and reflect on their valor and virtue today.On this Memorial Day, I ask you to consider a practice I was inspired to embrace years ago. Whenever you see a man or a woman in uniform, stop and shake their hand. Thank them for their service to our Nation and smile.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/26/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Memorial Day, Military, Father (Captain) Emil Kapaun, Mission Capodanno, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Honoring those who have died in service to the Nation on Memorial Day is a beautiful American custom. There are numerous cities which claim they were the first to celebrate the Day.  There are varied explanations of its history.

Memorial Day has evolved into a unique American moment for reflection, re-dedication and resolve. This holiday on the last Monday of the month, when we are all invited to pause to remember the men and women who died while serving our Nation in the military, challenges all of us to live our lives differently as well.

Though considered a secular holiday, many do not know that a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. At that time we are asked to observe a moment of silence and prayer. Throughout the day, Americans visit cemeteries or memorials dedicated to the war dead and spiritually reflect on those existential issues which are the ground of faith.

We also celebrate the memory of the lives of those who died in service to the Nation. There are community wide parades and picnics. The Holiday has also become the unofficial start to the summer season in the United States. So engrained has its observance become that many public pools often time their opening to the observance.

I am always drawn to these words of Jesus on Memorial Day, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) Military service which leads to laying one's life down is certainly an expression of this kind of heroic love. It also deserves to be honored. Those who witness to it are champions - and we should stop and reflect on their valor and virtue today.

For a good Catholic source to assist in this kind of approach to Memorial Day, I recommend the site offered by Mission Capadanno It helps to promote solid reflection on the kind of sacrifice so many offered as a direct response to their Christian faith. I offer below a portion of the mission statement of this commendable organization:
 
*****
Our Mission: Mission Capodanno serves those who serve, offering U.S. Armed Forces personnel spiritual truths of military life in light of the Catholic Faith. Paragraph 2310 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace."

Its four-fold mission is:
-to build spiritual resiliency within military personnel, military families, and military communities that have an immediate family member serving on active duty;
-to promote vocations to the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard Chaplain Corps
-to provide needed and requested Catholic supplies to military chaplains of all faiths currently ministering to those serving in the U.S. armed forces
-to make known the life and sacrifice of Maryknoll Father Vincent Robert Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR

Mission Capodanno magnifies the Church's teaching that military service is "a true vocation", "a high calling", "a sacred duty". Through education, we work towards the restoration of christocentric patriotism, which rests in the order of charity, as love of country- even unto death- and flows from love of God."

*****
In a special way on this Memorial Day I am drawn to another heroic chaplain. On April 11, 2013, Father (Captain) Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest who witnessed to just such a higher calling by demonstrating heroic virtue while serving this Nation as a Chaplain, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. You can read the White House Statement on Fr. Kapuan here.

On the day of that the well deserved award was given, I was at home not feeling well. I just happened to turn on the news and witnessed the remarks offered by President Obama. Frankly, I found it to be his best speech since taking office. He referred to this profoundly holy man as a "shepherd in combat boots".

Father Kapaun represents such a beautiful example of living those words of Jesus with integrity and moral coherence. "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) It is no surprise that his cause for canonization is moving forward. He is a Saint. How we need his witness, his prayers and his message in this urgent hour.

As our Nation continues to veer off course, a direct result of the rejection of God, we need the help of heaven. As we experience the continued erosion of liberty, and witness the disregard of the first freedom, religious freedom, we need the intervention of the living God. As we experience the ominous dark cloud of a growing culture of death give rise to a throw-away culture, to use the words of Pope Francis, we need nothing less than a national spiritual revival to turn us back to the right course.

As we witness the utter rejection of the truth about marriage and the family and society founded upon it, we need National repentance. Catholics need to wake up to the urgency of the hour and join with other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will in being a part of turning the Nation away from the path of decline upon which it has embarked. Catholics in the United States should also pray fervently for those who serve in the military. We should honor them and respect their sacrifice.We should also support them in every way we are able to do so.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services website can be found here. I highly recommend a regular, prayerful visit to this great virtual place of honor. Pray for Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio and the Auxiliary Bishops who serve with him. They are courageous, faithful shepherds facing some very real challenges as the Nation they serve loses its way because it has rejected its moral compass. As I have aged, I have only grown in my respect for members of the military. The honor they demonstrate, through lives of service to a cause greater them themselves, moves me deeply.   As a Deacon, some of the most meaningful memories of funeral services which I have served are the military funerals.

I live in Southeastern, Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is a daily example of the dignity of military service. Every day, I witness the  kinds of sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day weekend, I ask you to consider a practice I was inspired to embrace years ago. Whenever you see a man or a woman in uniform, stop and shake their hand. Thank them for their service to our Nation and smile.

Happy Memorial Day weekend. And to all who serve in the Military, Thank you and God Bless you!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter