Ahern: Veteran’s Day Mass at St. Barnabas
By Patti Ahern Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org November 1, 2012 4:02PM
Army veteran and Palos Heights resident Don Larson carries in the army flag during last year’s Veteran’s Day Mass at St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago’s Beverly community. | Supplied Photo
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:09AM
A Veterans Day Mass planned at St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago’s Beverly community does not glorify war or violence, nor does it justify a political belief.
The Mass, which is at 10 a.m. Nov. 11, will focus on peace and will thank and honor all members of the armed services, past and present, who have defended the United States.
“We decided to do this special liturgy to honor all the servicemen and women who serve and have served our country,” Kitty Ryan, the pastoral associate and director of music and liturgy for St. Barnabas parish, wrote in an email.
“The focus of the liturgy is peace, not violence or war, and our prayer is for peace among all nations. However, since humanity has not discovered how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way, war and violence remain a reality in our lives.
“No matter how much we are against war and violence we cannot ignore the service these men and women have provided to us in defending our freedom. We cannot ignore all those who have been injured and all those who have lost their lives serving our country.”
The Mass, which was planned by the St. Barnabas Liturgy Committee, will include performances by the St. Barnabas/Spirit in Song Adult Choirs and the St. Barnabas Children’s Choir. The Rev. Jim Joslyn, a retired Navy chaplain, will be the presider for the service.
“I was in the Navy for 23 years, and I loved it,” Joslyn said. “This is the first time I’ll do the Veterans Day Mass at St. Barnabas.”
Joslyn, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, said he has many friends and relatives in the area. He is eager to say the Mass, he said, to honor military veterans.
“There are so many people permanently disabled from war,” Joslyn said. “This is an opportunity to raise awareness about those who have served in the military.”
The Mass will begin with a special “call to worship” that will acknowledge all the branches of the military. Any current service members or veterans will be invited to join in the procession at the beginning of the service, and each military division will be led by their respective flags.
Beverly resident and Vietnam veteran Pat Malloy will be one of several veterans bringing up the gifts during the ceremony. Malloy said he was honored to be a part of the Mass, because he felt he represented so many.
“By all means I am honored,” Malloy said. “In bringing up the gifts, I am representing all the veterans who will be there. I’ll be taking all their wishes and dreams up as I bring up the gifts.”
In addition to the recognition given during the “call to worship,” the names of those currently serving in the military will be brought up to the church altar, along with a peace candle. After communion there will be a special blessing for current men and women, as well as for veterans.
Hank Hammer is a member of the St. Barnabas Liturgical Committee that helps plan Masses. Hammer wrote an email saying that this special Mass is a way to remember the commitment and service of those who have served.
“All of our deceased veterans had dreams and hopes for long lives,” Hammer wrote. “We, who have been given that gift, should never forget them. We can dream and hope because they gave us a country where that is still possible.
“It is important in our current atmosphere of entitlement to remember how selfless these men and women were in serving their country. I suspect none of them really wanted to go to war, but they did because they knew the freedom Americans enjoyed would be jeopardized if they and others did not make the sacrifice to serve their country.
“At this time of year I often think of John F. Kennedy’s quote, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’”
The parish, which has celebrated this Mass annually since 2008, says it is a “not to be missed” celebration, Ryan said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the faith community to come together to pray for peace while at the same time honoring our dedicated servicemen and women, past and present,” Ryan said.
Hammer agreed with Ryan and added thoughts about wars and hope for peace.
“We are trying to reconcile the idea of these tragic wars with the fervent hope for peace,” Hammer said. “Can peace come out of devastation and loss of life? Can we learn from these wars that there will be no true peace unless it is rooted in Gospel values?”
St. Barnabas Parish, 10134 S. Longwood Drive, has more than 1,500 registered families.
For more information about the Mass, which includes a coffee and doughnut reception in the church vestibule following the liturgy, visit www.stbarnabasparish.org.
To add the name of an active service person to the list that will be read at the Prayers of the Faithful during the Mass, contact Ryan at (773) 779-1166, Ext. 226 or email@example.com.