Five Ways to Observe Memorial Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo: Orhan Cam / Shutterstock
Photo: matt_sawyers / Pixabay

1. Attend Mass at a cemetery

Some Catholic cemeteries offer Mass on Memorial Day. To find one near you, contact your diocese or parish.


Father Emil Kapaun celebrates Mass using the hood of his jeep as an altar, as his assistant, Patrick J. Schuler, kneels in prayer in Korea on Oct. 7, 1950, less than a month before Kapaun was taken prisoner. (AP Photo/Col. Raymond A. Skeehan via The Wichita Eagle)



2. Learn about Fr. Emil Kapaun

Emil Kapaun was a priest from Kansas and a U.S. Army chaplain serving in the 1940s and 1950s. During the Korean War he ministered to soldiers in battle. He was captured, spent seven months in prison, and died on May 23, 1951. In 2013 he posthumously received the Medal of Honor. The Church is currently considering him for sainthood. In 1993, St. John Paul II declared him a Servant of God. Take some time this Memorial Day to read about Fr. Kapaun. For more information, visit or read The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero (Ignatius Press, 2013). Fr. Kaupan, Servant of God, pray for us!


CC by 2.0 Manhha


3. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance

In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which asks all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to honor those who have died in service to it.


Photo: jennifer1051 / Pixabay


4. Volunteer

Many charitable organizations focus their mission specifically on helping veterans. While Memorial Day specifically honors those who died in service to our nation, you still might want to look into honoring all military — active and retired. Research local organizations and opportunities near you that could use a helping hand.


Arlington National Cemetery with a flag next to each headstone during Memorial day – Washington D.C. Photo: Orhan Cam / Shutterstock

5. Pray a Memorial Day prayer

Take time out of your day to gather the family together and pray a Memorial Day prayer. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops suggests the following prayer from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers: 

God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

You can find other prayers by searching “prayer for troops” at

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