Saint Brendan Church
2800 Oakwood Ave.
Youngstown, Ohio 44509
A Roman Catholic Community
Remember With Love
In my family there was always a special ritual connected with Memorial Day. Every year within a few days of the holiday, my mother and my Aunt Jane, and after my mom had died, Aunt Jane and I made a point to visit all the graves of our family members. We would go to a garden shop and buy 15 to 20 geraniums. They had to be white, pink, and red, unless we could find some that were coral-colored. Then we would visit each of the graves of our family members in Calvary, Resurrection, Forest Lawn, and St. John’s Cemeteries. And, on my own, I would add Hubbard Union to our list of cemeteries to visit, because that is where my father’s family members are buried.
At first, when Aunt Jane was still healthy, she would take small grass clippers, a bucket of water, a cloth, and a whisk broom to clean each grave stone. In those days, I was still learning from her how to find all the graves. In more recent years, she could only sit in the car and pray as I would visit each grave, spruce up the marker, and offer prayers before leaving a geranium.
In American society at large, Memorial Day and Labor Day have become bookend holidays enclosing the summer season, and so they are often devoted to outdoor summer activities, like picnicking, boating, and the like. Of course, I enjoy those activities as much as anyone else. But I hope that Memorial Day (Labor Day too!) will keep its unique focus for us. If you haven’t been to a family member’s grave recently, why don’t you go? Think of the events of their life that you enjoy recalling. Think of your own life and its limits. Enjoy the green of the cemetery. Enjoy the quiet. Then say a prayer.
I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this:
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” said the Spirit,
“let them find rest from their labors,
for their works accompany them.”
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Fr. Bill Loveless