Hundreds of Catholics gathered on a breezy hilltop cemetery above Portland on Memorial Day to remember the dead during a Mass.
According to tradition, those who have died in war were recalled with special honor.
“No matter how you or I feel about war in general, or how we feel about any particular war, we recognize those who answered the call to duty, to service,” said Archbishop Alexander Sample, who told worshipers at Mount Calvary Cemetery that the war dead fulfilled in a special way the message of Jesus — they laid down their lives for others.
He reminded the crowd, many of whom had buried loved ones near the site, that the freedoms Americans enjoy came because others sacrificed themselves.
The Mass took place at an altar alongside the graves of Portland’s former archbishops.
Archbishop Sample said that Memorial day, in addition to honoring those who fell in battle, calls to mind all who served in the military and did their part, all the dead and even those who are still serving in harm’s way.
“Above all we pray for that day when war is known no more when peace will reign in the hearts of all people when barriers of hatred and division and terror will be broken down and destroyed forever so men and women may live together in peace and justice for all,” the archbishop said.
In the cemetery were Tom and Barbara Manning, members of St. Patrick Parish in Madras. Many of Tom’s family are buried at Mount Calvary and he recalls coming on Memorial Day to decorate graves and have a picnic. Along with him this day were his daughter and granddaughter.
“It’s a good thing to do,” said Tom, casting a loving glance at his family.
Just before Mass, a bagpiper led a small procession to a Celtic Cross on the cemetery grounds. Members of the All Ireland Cultural Society laid a wreath at the base of the 15-foot-tall monument, which calls to mind those who died in the 19th century Irish famines.
To see more photos, go to the Sentinel's Facebook page.