My people will live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and quiet resting places.

Today is a day of remembrance. 

Memorial Day began as an occasion to honor and to remember soldiers who died serving their country during the Civil War. I have walked the cemeteries of Gettysburg. I got to see the vastness of the area, the immensity of it belies the scope of death and tragedy – the result of that horrific battle – thousands of American men and boys savagely killed.

Our current celebration of Memorial Day was inspired by the way people honored their dead after the end of World War I. People would go to cemeteries and put American flags on soldier’s graves, that’s why it was known as Decoration Day for a while. Memorial Day was later extended to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.

On Memorial Day people often read a poem honoring fallen soldiers or look up family histories and honor those in our families who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We come here, to this place of rest, and we pray and reflect. One week after the Pearl Harbor attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.” Freedom is never free; it is almost always bought with the blood of those who voluntarily or even reluctantly stepped forward. We live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places because they did step forward.

As I wander around my house, trying to recall what I was about to do, or searching for that thing I knew had to be there, I am confronted by the ease at which I can forget. Yet when this day, marked on the calendar arrives, when we gather here, I cannot help but remember that I live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places because others died for me.

In the Book of Joshua, God commanded that the men of Israel build a memorial of twelves stones to stand as a silent witness so that the generations would not forget. God had his people put up so many stones of remembrance and created so many celebrations and festivals so that they would remember the sacrifices and the instruction from God; so they would remember and not take for granted their lives in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places.

It is vitally important that we remember those who died in battle on this day dedicated to them. The stones in Gettysburg, in Arlington, Saratoga, those here, and in cemeteries around the world are not just markers, but rather a commemoration – to help us call these things to mind. They stand as witness before us, calling us to make right choices, to consider before we act as a nation. To measure the value of every life sent to the front line.

The best way we can honor the men and women who gave their all for our freedom is to live lives marked by remembrance, gratitude for the gifts we enjoy, and to act in a way worthy of their sacrifice. As we live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places may we have this prayer on our lips: May our honored dead rest in peace. May their memory be eternal and remember, thankful for their sacrifice.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you – Philippians 1:3

Heavenly Father, Whose care and guidance brought our forefathers to this great land, and led them through faith, courage and self-sacrifice to build the foundations of a great democratic nation, dedicated to Thy service and the rights of man, lead us, O God, in our day, as Thou didst lead our forefathers, and help us to be faithful stewards of the heritage which Thou hast entrusted to us.

Reverently, on this Memorial Day, in Thy holy presence, we pay our tribute of respect to the memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. We pray, that the souls of these, our heroic dead may have found perfect rest in Thee, and received the crown of an unfading life. O Thou, Eternal Lover of souls, cherish and bless them, we entreat Thee, and give unto us, the living, peace and hope as we think of them in this solemn hour.

Before Thee, O Lord God, we humbly acknowledge our debt to them, and beseech Thee to give us the strength, to go on towards the ideals for which they fought and died. Take, O Lord, the veil from their hearts, and join us in one communion with all Thy saints on earth, and in the life beyond.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — From Memorial Day Prayers according to the Ritual of the Polish National Catholic Church

May 2014 Newsletter – The Easter Season, Mom, and more…

It is May and our newsletter has arrived. It is filled with information on so many holy and exciting events as we continue to celebrate the fifty days of Easter. We start by visiting the upper room and study the witness of those who were there, including Mary, the mother of Jesus. We invite you to stand with your family in faith as we celebrate mom and worship together right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — May 2014 Newsletter.

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On Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2013

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you – Philippians 1:3

Heavenly Father, Whose care and guidance brought our forefathers to this great land, and led them through faith, courage and self-sacrifice to build the foundations of a great democratic nation, dedicated to Thy service and the rights of man, lead us, O God, in our day, as Thou didst lead our forefathers, and help us to be faithful stewards of the heritage which Thou hast entrusted to us.

Reverently, on this Memorial Day, in Thy holy presence, we pay our tribute of respect to the memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. We pray, that the souls of these, our heroic dead may have found perfect rest in Thee, and received the crown of an unfading life. O Thou, Eternal Lover of souls, cherish and bless them, we entreat Thee, and give unto us, the living, peace and hope as we think of them in this solemn hour.

Before Thee, O Lord God, we humbly acknowledge our debt to them, and beseech Thee to give us the strength, to go on towards the ideals for which they fought and died. Take, O Lord, the veil from their hearts, and join us in one communion with all Thy saints on earth, and in the life beyond.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — From Memorial Day Prayers according to the Ritual of the Polish National Catholic Church