Happy Veterans Day! Today we honor all the brave men and women who have served … and currently serve … in the Armed Forces.
Of course, this day differs from Memorial Day, which honors those who died in service to our country.
In the US, the holiday began as a celebration of the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It was called Armistice Day, but after several wars, the name was changed in 1954 to Veterans Day to honor soldiers of all wars.
November 11th is celebrated by other countries around the world too. Some still call it Armistice Day like the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Germany. Canada, Australia, and France call it Remembrance Day. Technically speaking, not all countries celebrate it on November 11th … the UK always celebrates it on a Sunday.
Of particular interest to us, November 11th also has a Catholic connection. It’s the Memorial for Saint Martin of Tours, who is the patron Saint of soldiers. In Europe, it was a centuries-old tradition to sign treaties to end conflicts on November 11th in honor of Saint Martin of Tours.
So this week’s issue of Genuflect reflects on Veterans Day, what it is, it’s Catholic origin, the role of military Chaplains, the vocation of soldiers, lessons for soldiers from St. Joan of Arc, patron Saints of the military, some special prayers for the military, and how to celebrate Veterans Day during the pandemic.
God bless you if you are a veteran or a current member of the Armed Forces. Thank you for your sacrifices and service. We’ll say a special prayer today in your honor.
Founding Editor, Genuflect
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5 Facts About Veterans Day
In the US, we’ve celebrated Veterans Day on November 11th each year since 1978. But chances are good you don’t spell the holiday’s name correctly. Here are 4 other facts you should know … and don’t miss the link at the bottom of the article to test your Veterans Day knowledge.
5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day | US Department of Defense
St. Martin of Tours
On November 11th the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop. Saint Martin was a Roman soldier who laid down his arms to follow Christ. He dedicated his life to serving the needy, and eventually became a Bishop. Saint Martin is one of the patron Saints of soldiers.
Memorial of St. Martin of Tours | Catholic Culture
Honoring Military Chaplains
On this Veterans Day we also honor all the military chaplains who sacrifice so much for the spiritual <what> of our soldiers. Since the Civil War there have been 5 Catholic Chaplains who have received the Medal of Honor and 4 who have had Navy ships named in their honor. Two Catholic Chaplains are on the path to Sainthood. Thanks to the USCCB their inspiring stories will not be forgotten.
Honoring our Military Chaplains | USCCB
WWII’s Unsung Catholic Priest
Father Thomas Michael Conway was a Catholic priest serving on the USS Indianapolis in World War II. Father Conway died in shark-infested waters after the ship was torpedoed, but not before comforting and ministering to survivors for three days as they awaited rescue. Though an initial request to the Navy to award Father Conway the Navy Cross was denied, read how a veterans group is not giving up in the quest for recognition for this brave Catholic priest.
Learning From Veterans
Constance Hull looks at the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus encounters the centurion in Capernaum whose servant is ill. He expresses such great faith that Jesus heals the servant. Ms. Hull enlightens us with 4 traits that are demonstrated by the centurion … and soldiers in general … that we should all emulate as followers of Jesus Christ.
What Can Veterans Teach Us About the Christian Life? | Catholic Exchange
The Soldier Vocation
Some people may denigrate soldiers and question their afterlife, but look no further than these beautiful quotes from Venerable Fulton Sheen, Saint John Paul II, and Pope John XXIII honoring those who sacrifice so much in service of God and their country.
The Vocation of a Soldier is Next in Dignity to The Priesthood | The American Catholic
Joan of Arc For Veterans
We are blessed to have the lives of many Saints to emulate. BJ Gonzalvo attributes Saint Joan of Arc as an important role model he drew inspiration from when he was in the military. Here are the three main virtues this Veteran learned from Saint Joan of Arc.
Patron Saints of The Military
It’s helpful to appeal to Saints for their intercessions. Not only are there patron Saints for the military, there are patron Saints for the various branches and even particular jobs. You’ll find a list of them here for the next time you have prayer requests for your favorite soldier.
5 Prayers For Veterans
One important way we honor our veterans is through prayer. Here are 5 prayers for those who give so much for us.
Virtual Veterans Day Event
The Coronavirus pandemic has limited our public events and celebrations. But we’ve adapted with many moving online. This Veterans Day, you can celebrate from the comfort of your home by tuning in to the “In God We Trust” Mass celebrated by the Archdiocese of Denver. Don’t miss it beginning at 6:15pm Mountain.
Pray The Saint Gertrude the Great Novena
We celebrate the Feast of Saint Gertrude every year on November 16th. Saint Gertrude is often invoked for the souls in purgatory and since the month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, it’s the perfect time to pray this Novena. You’ll find the full instructions for The Saint Gertrude the Great Novena here.
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