During this month of May, I have continued my tour of this beautiful state. In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of participating in several memorial gatherings.
On May 6, I traveled to the Rhode Island State Fire Academy. The Academy is a relatively new institution in our state and provides critical training for firefighters across Rhode Island. On the campus grounds, there is a fitting monument to the firefighters lost in the exercise of their duty. Their names, stretching back to the early 1800s, are etched into the wall, and I felt privileged to pray that day for the fallen, for their families, for our current firefighters, and for our communities.
On May 18, I attended the annual memorial to fallen Rhode Island State Troopers in North Scituate. Two of our priest chaplains, Father Joseph Creedon and Father TJ Varghese offered prayers for the fallen and for their families. As part of the service, one of the young troopers sang our national anthem. Without accompaniment, she sang from the heart in one of the most beautiful renditions that I have ever heard.
On May 19, I prayed a prayer of blessing at the dedication of a new monument at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery. Years in the planning, the beautiful cross-shaped monument honors Portuguese American and Luso-American veterans and those who fell in defense of the United States.
As I write these words, I am also thinking forward to the upcoming observance of Memorial Day here in Rhode Island and across the United States. In each of the above instances and in many other such memorials across the state, there is a common thread of men and women of courage and integrity who risk and sacrifice themselves for the sake of family, neighbor, and community. It is right and just to take time to remember their sacrifices and those who suffer their loss. For every name etched, there are the mothers who nurtured them, the fathers who taught them, the families and communities that shaped them and the comrades who joined them in the fight to defend life and liberty. They are us, and in our reverence for their memory, we are them. I hope that all of us continue to remember and to honor the fallen. And I hope that we thank their families and the men and women who continue to stand guard for our communities.
It seems fitting to me that this month of memorials is also a month that we consecrate ourselves to Our Blessed Mother, who knows the anguish of the sorrowing and who held in her loving arms the body of the One Who offered His life’s blood for the cleansing and redemption of the world. It is that sacrifice that gathers up and gives meaning to all our sacrifices.
When we gather this Memorial Day, let us remember and pray!
• Our Lady of Peace, we entrust to your loving embrace all those who have fallen in service of our nation and community (Hail Mary…)
• Our Lady of Consolation, we entrust to your intercession the family, friends, and comrades of the fallen (Hail Mary)
• Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we entrust to your loving care all those men and women who place their own lives in jeopardy for our defense and protection (Hail Mary)
Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon them. May they rest in Peace. May their souls, and the souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen.
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