PORTLAND---The long-standing tradition of having the bishop celebrate Mass on Memorial Day at either St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston or Calvary Cemetery in South Portland will break for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s Memorial Day Mass (Monday, May 25) with Bishop Robert Deeley will be live-streamed from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland at 9 a.m., the time it would traditionally be celebrated at the cemetery. All are welcome to participate from home via livestream at www.facebook.com/PortlandCathedral or www.portlandiocese.org/online-Mass.
The Memorial Day Mass is an occasion to pray for all our deceased loved ones, especially the men and women who served our nation and have now gone home to the Lord.
"It is our day to remember all those who have given their lives to defend the truths that our great nation holds to be self-evident: the truth, for example, that all men and women are created equal; the truth that we are all children of one God, endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. The men and women we remember died defending these rights," said Bishop Deeley.
Memorial Day got its start as Decoration Day, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery after the Civil War.
“The day means so much more than that. It is grounded in a conviction of faith,” said the bishop. “Our remembering is not only about placing flowers, as important as that it is. It is also about bringing the memory of those we remember to prayer, mindful that Jesus’ death was followed by the resurrection.”
All other Maine parishes will continue their regular live-streaming schedules on Memorial Day (www.portlanddiocese.org/live-streamed-Masses), including parishes that traditionally hold Memorial Day Masses in local cemeteries, like Good Shepherd Parish in Saco.
“This year, it will be inside and live-streamed, but my intention for the Mass will again be for Americans who died fighting in wars and for all who are buried in our two cemeteries,” said Monsignor Rene Mathieu, pastor of the parish.