May 17, 2019

Memorial Day Mass to honor Medal of Honor priests, those who have served

Criterion staff report

SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish, 5901 Olive Branch Road, in Greenwood, is hosting its annual Memorial Day Mass and program beginning at 8:45 a.m. on May 27. The public is invited.

This year’s liturgy will honor Medal of Honor priests, and men and women who have served in the military.

After the Mass, a program and reception will be held in which retired Navy Vice Admiral Steve Stanley will speak about the cause for the canonization of Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno, whose Medal of Honor, chalice, paten and field cap will be on display.

“Since the Medals of Honor were established in the Civil War, nine have been awarded to chaplains,” explained Jim Recasner, a SS. Francis and Clare parishioner who is helping organize the event.

“The first four were to Protestant chaplains in the Civil War. Since then, the five Medals of Honor have all been awarded to Catholic priests—Father Joseph O’Callahan in World War II, Father Emil Kapaun in the Korean War and Fathers Charles Watters, Charles Liteky and [Vincent] Capodanno in Vietnam. Father Kapaun and Father Capodanno are Servants of God.”

People may also not realize that chaplains carry no weapons of war, Recasner noted. “They are non‑combatants and carry with them only their Catholic faith and love of their fellow man as they go into harm’s way.”

The annual Mass, Recasner continued, serves “as a reminder of the real intent behind the holiday—as a day of prayer for peace and to remember those who sacrificed in service to our nation.” †

 

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