Bishop Robert Deeley Commemorates Memorial Day with a Mass at St. Peter's Cemetery in Lewiston

Continuing a long tradition, Bishop Robert Deeley commemorated Memorial Day by celebrating Mass at one of the diocesan cemeteries.

“Today, as we gather, we honor all our deceased loved ones. For the burial of all our deceased, the cemetery is a sacred place. It is here, with the respect we have for those who have gone before us in death, that we entrust their remains. When we leave our loved ones here, we are commending them to God,” the bishop said.

Nearly 200 people gathered with the bishop for the Mass, which was celebrated on Monday, May 29, in the chapel mausoleum of St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston.

While all the deceased were remembered during the Memorial Day Mass, the bishop noted that the day most especially is an opportunity to honor and express our gratitude to those who died in service to the country.

“Today, we remember those who, in their service, gave the ultimate sacrifice, their own lives for the cause of liberty and freedom,” the bishop said. “We remember the sacrifice of our servicemen and women, and in our gratitude, we pray for them, and we entrust these fallen veterans of many wars over the years of our country’s existence, some of them friends of ours or members of our own families, to the loving embrace of God. In their sacrifice, they served the good of others.”

During the Mass, the faithful joined in praying for all who died in military service as well as all those who are buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery. Prayers were also offered for world leaders, that the God of life may inspire them to strive for peace, and for the bereaved, that they may find consolation and strength in our shared faith and in the resurrection of Christ.

“The love of God revealed in Jesus is eternal. It promises life and eternal life. It is the reason we can come together today in hope,” the bishop said. “In the hope that Jesus gives us, we believe that those who are buried here in this cemetery live with the Lord. It is the reason we come here to pray. This is our faith. We meet here because we believe in the resurrection from the dead. And we believe that our prayer can assist those who have died in their journey to live forever with the Lord.”

In his homily, the bishop recalled the sentiment on an old Irish headstone: “Death leaves a heartache that no one can heal, but love leaves a memory that no one can steal.” He told those gathered that we act on that memory when we come together in prayer.

“That memory of love is not only a memory of a particular person that we might mourn, but it is a memory as well of the love of God. In that eternal, undying love of God, we gather in hope and prayer,” the bishop said. “We act today in the memory of the love we cherish, as we pray in love for eternal peace for all those whom we have entrusted to God who is Love. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

For the celebration of Memorial Day, grave markers of servicemen and women buried at the cemetery were adorned with flags, which waved in a gentle breeze.

The Mass at St. Peter’s Cemetery was just one of several held at Catholic cemeteries across the state in commemoration of Memorial Day.

Flowers and Flag on gravestone
Memorial Day Opening Procession
Opening Prayer
Father Richard Malo
First reading
Deacon Frank Daggett shares the Gospel.
Bishop Robert Deeley's homily
Presentation of Gifts
Cemetery and parish staff
Bishop Robert Deeley and Father Robert Vaillancourt during the Liturgy of the Eucharist