Laura Keener, Editor.
On a beautiful Monday morning Bishop Roger Foys celebrated the annual Memorial Day Mass, May 31, at St. Stephen Cemetery, Ft. Thomas. As usual, Mass was held on Calvary Hill beneath the large stone crucifix. Special this year, Brood X (the 17-year cicadas) provided Cicadian chant, adding to the natural landscape and to the praise and glory of God.
“Today is Memorial Day, it’s a day to remember,” said Bishop Foys as he began his homily. “We say that we ought to be remembering those who died for us, those who died to preserve our freedom, those who died to preserve our way of life. Even though this is a day to remember, I think it is pretty safe to say that a large part of the population in this country have forgotten what we are to remember”
Drawing on the Gospel passage — the raising of Lazarus from the tomb — and the Biblical account of the Last Supper, Bishop Foys elaborated on the importance of remembering and how faith is foundational to remembering.
“Memories are important, remembering people and events is important,” Bishop Foys said. “At the Last Supper Jesus said to his apostles, ‘Do this in memory of me.’ Every time we celebrate Mass we are called to remember that Last Supper and the words that Jesus spoke to the apostles and the message that he had entrusted to them.”
In the Gospel passage, Bishop Foys said, that Martha had “temporarily forgotten that Jesus was the Lord,” when she chastises Jesus for not being there to prevent her brother’s death and cautions Jesus not to roll away the tomb stone for fear of a stench.
“She takes him to task for not being there when her brother died. She forgot what he told her, ‘I am the resurrection and I am the life,’” Bishop Foys said.
Bishop Foys shared a Chinese proverb: as long as someone remembers you, you will never really be dead.
“There’s something to that,” said Bishop Foys. “There’s a connection to what went before, what is now and what will be — we pass on those memories and traditions.”
Also important, Bishop Foys, is to remember what so many men and women sacrificed their lives for — to preserve our freedoms, especially religious freedom.
“It is important for us to pray for those who gave their very lives so that we could be here, so that we can worship, so that we could profess and live our faith,” Bishop Foys said. “We must not forget. For almost 200 years the state — the government — did not encroach on the Church, it respected our religious freedom, for which so many have died. But in the recent past — not so. Now we have governments telling us how we can live, what we can do and can’t do, even as it pertains to our faith — our beliefs. That’s frightening. What will the future be when we lose those freedoms? That’s why it is so very important for us to gather and to remember and to pray.”
As he ended his homily, Bishop Foys said, “As we continue Mass let us keep in our minds and hearts, first of all, those who gave their very lives so that we might have freedom. Let us also remember our family and friends who have gone before us, commend them to the Lord, pray for them, that one day where they have gone we will follow.”