Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

More than 200 people gathered at Holy Trinity Parish, Norfolk, Memorial Day, May 28, as Bishop Barry C. Knestout and priests serving in the Diocese of Richmond celebrated the Mass for the Fallen.

Bishop Barry C. Knestout delivers the homily during the Mass for the Fallen.

In his homily, Bishop Knestout said Memorial Day was much like All Souls Day — a time for “remembrance of the dead in prayer and thanksgiving.”

Noting that the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity had been celebrated the previous day, the bishop said the Trinity reminded the faithful they “were created for divine love and called to be immersed in that divine love.”

He continued, “It also reminds us that we were made for community and communion with one another. Both truths give us comfort and consolation as we grieve the loss of loved ones in death.”

The bishop said that divine love was and is expressed in those “who made the greatest sacrifice.”

“The sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for us that we might know freedom and opportunity in this great nation images and makes present in a real way the greatest of all sacrifices, the sacrifice we know by faith,” Bishop Knestout said. “’For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him, may not perish but have eternal life’” (Jn 3:16).

He noted that the “eternal sacrifice” of Christ is reflected in those who sacrificed their lives, and that the faithful should respond with gratitude and imitation of action.

Retired Cmdr. Daniel Hurley, U.S. Navy, in a moment of quiet reflection and prayer following Communion. (Photos/Deborah Cox)

“This calls forth from us, gratitude. They gave of their lives so we could know a fuller and freer life here and now,” Bishop Knestout said. “This calls forth from us imitation. Just as their sacrifice gives life to us, so our daily sacrifices should be oriented toward giving life to others.”

For Catholics, the bishop said, the highest form of thanksgiving and remembrance is celebration of the Eucharist.

“We give thanks for the new and eternal life given to us by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross,” Bishop Knestout said. “At the same time the fruit of this sacrifice is experienced by us in the self-sacrifice of those who have given their lives for us.”

Contributing to this story was Deborah Cox, director, Diocese of Richmond’s Office of Communications.