Hundreds of people took time on Memorial Day – May 29 – to pay tribute in a special way to those who lost their lives in the service of their country.
Following a longtime Memorial Day tradition, Masses were celebrated at Catholic cemeteries across the eight-county Diocese of Cleveland. Many – like the one at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park – were outdoors. The weather was perfect for the solemn celebration.
(See photo gallery above from the Mass at Holy Cross.)
The small flags placed on veterans’ graves fluttered as Father Josh Cochrac, parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Parma began the Mass at Holy Cross. A large crowd of people gathered under trees for the liturgy. Members of the local Knights of Columbus formed an honor guard for Father Cochrac as he processed to the tent where the altar had been set up and prepared for the Mass.
“This is one of the most meaningful Masses of the year,” Father Cochrac told the faithful.
“It is a great gift to be able to come together and pray for them,” he said, referring to those who served their country and were buried at Holy Cross and elsewhere. The liturgy provides comfort, solace and reminds us of the Resurrection, he said.
He also noted that Mary, the Mother of the Church -- whose feast was celebrated that day – provides a reminder and an example for how we should remain faithful to her son, Jesus.
As he scanned the cemetery grounds, Father Cochrac urged others to do the same.
“Look at all those flags,” he said. Although he didn’t personally know anyone who died in the service of the country, he said the flags and the Memorial Day holiday are a reminder of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and how Jesus remains close to us always, even on our darkest days.
Catholic Cemeteries Association, Diocese of Cleveland, offers a variety of programs to help those grieving the loss of a loved one. Special events also are scheduled throughout the year. Click here to access more information.