Memorial Day Masses and Services
“Memorial Day is a time to remember those who kept the faith and died in service to our country...It is our duty as Americans to praise their sacrifice, to bless their memories, to pray for their eternal repose, and to thank God for the freedom they preserve for us.” - Bishop Robert Deeley
The origins of Memorial Day date back to the Civil War when many cities and towns would set aside a day to remember those who died in the war. Originally called Decoration Day, it was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 of that year when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Through the years, the holiday began to be known as Memorial Day and was a day to commemorate all those whose lives were lost in service to their country, not just Civil War veterans. In 1971, when the federal law went into effect moving major holidays to Mondays, the name Memorial Day became official, and the date was set as the last Monday in May.
All Masses and prayer services below are on Memorial Day (Monday, May 29) unless otherwise noted.
St. Joseph Church
178 Elm Street, Biddeford
Good Shepherd Parish will hold a Memorial Day Mass at 10 a.m. to honor those buried in St. Joseph and St. Mary's Cemeteries in Biddeford. Father Timothy Nadeau, pastor of Good Shepherd, will be the celebrant.
St. Peter's Cemetery
217 Switzerland Road
A Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley at 10 a.m. in the chapel mausoleum of St. Peter's Cemetery. In addition, Father Daniel Greenleaf invites all to join him at the cemetery in front of the chapel on Saturday, May 27, at 7 a.m. to pray the Rosary and to pray for those who laid down their lives in sacrifice.
St. Martin's Cemetery
A 9 a.m. Mass will be celebrated by Father Dominic Savio, HGN. In the event of rain, the Mass will be held at St. Martin of Tours Church, 19 Colby Street in Millinocket.
Holy Family Church
429 Main Street
The Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord will celebrate a Memorial Day Mass at 8 a.m. at Holy Family Church in Old Town.
St. John Cemetery
The Parish of the Holy Savior will hold a Memorial Day Mass at St. John Cemetery on Monday, May 29, at 8:15 a.m. A tent will be set up, but attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. The Mass will include the reading of names of veterans who have died during the past year.
St. Ignatius Cemetery
Deacon John Buchholz will lead a prayer service at St. Ignatius Cemetery in Sanford at 9 a.m.
A Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated by Father Jack Dickinson at 9 a.m.
Holy Cross Cemetery
75 Smith Street
A Mass will be celebrated on Monday, May 29, at 9 a.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery. In the event of inclement weather, the Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main Street in Yarmouth.