After Easter Sunday, many people believe the commemoration is over until the next year. As Catholics, though, we know this most sacred holy day is just the beginning. Throughout Easter Season, which spans the 50 days from Easter Sunday through Pentecost, we spend our time in joyful celebration of Jesus’ gift of eternal life.
While we focused on turning from sin during Lent, in the weeks after Easter, we embrace good news of Jesus conquering sin and death, listen to stories of the Apostles spreading the Gospel, and give thanks for the gift of salvation our loving God has given to all His faithful followers.
The sentiment is especially welcome as we approach Memorial Day. What better way to honor this day set aside to remember those lost in the service of their country than to approach it with the hope of Easter in our hearts?
At Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes locations throughout the Valley and in Northern Arizona, families come together to remember their departed loved ones—those who served in the military and otherwise—at the annual Memorial Day Mass. I’ve had the privilege of celebrating these Masses, and they are always a mixture of joy and hope alongside the sorrow of the grieving.
I like to remind those gathered that Catholic cemeteries hold a special place in our faith. They provide a permanent place for family and friends to come together to both grieve for and celebrate their loved ones. Ultimately, Catholic cemeteries aren’t places of sadness. They’re places where the faithful—both alive and departed—gather to await the hope of the resurrection, the very hope we celebrate during Easter Season.
When you attend one of these special Masses, you’re also sharing your grief with hundreds of others from our faith community who are there, and they’re sharing their grief with you. When you observe your grief in this way, take it out, look at it and let someone else partake of it with you, you make it easier to bear. You’re not alone, and this communal way of remembering your loved ones helps bring about healing in your heart.
This Memorial Day, I invite you to attend Memorial Day Mass at one of the Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes locations. Whether you do or choose to honor this day in another way, I hope you find time to remember in your prayers those who are grieving and those unknown souls who have no one to pray for them. In doing so, we fulfill the great spiritual work of mercy to pray for the dead—while spreading the boundless love God gave us in his gift of eternal life at Easter.
Fr. Dan McBride is pastor at St. Mary Parish in Chandler.
Memorial Day Masses on Monday, May 29
- St. Francis Catholic Cemetery: 8 a.m.
- Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery & Funeral Home: 8 a.m.
- Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery & Funeral Home: 8 a.m.
- Holy Redeemer Catholic Cemetery: 7 p.m.
- Calvary Catholic Cemetery: 10 a.m.
- All Souls Catholic Cemetery: 8:30 a.m.