Archdiocese of Washington
Department of Special Needs Ministries
Veterans’ Voices: Life and Spirituality after War
Veterans Day honors all those military men and women who have served our country. There are many events to recognize their contribution in the Washington, DC area. Our parishes are one place where active duty service members and veterans, including those with a service-related disability or PTSD, can be supported and blessed for their service to all of us.
- Religious and Spiritual Aftermath of War PowerPoint
- Outreach to Veterans PowerPoint
- Veterans Sunday 2015 Pew Card
- Veterans Day 2017 Resource Page
Prayer for Veterans
Help us, dear God, to see your face in every Veteran we encounter. Guide us as we imagine new ways to support Veterans and their families. Bring healing and peace to all who have been wounded physically, mentally and spiritually during wartime. Help us bring your saving grace to heal the invisible wounds of war. We ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
This year, Veterans Day is on________ (Day of Week), so our parish will honor our Veterans on Sunday, ________ (date) . On “Veterans’ Sunday” we join Veterans and active duty military and their families in our parish at Mass. We will honor their faithful service to our country, which reflects Christ’s own service and sacrifice for our Church. This effort is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Department of Special Needs Ministries. More resources are at adw.org/specialneeds/veterans.
Possible Additional Note in Bulletin:
Veterans’ Pew Cards will be available in the ________ (location), with thanks to the Archdiocese of Washington’s Department of Special Needs Ministries.
(Pew Cards can be obtained by contacting the Department; see contact information below).
Veterans Sunday Mass Petition:
For Veterans and their families, may they continue to serve our country in civilian life, and be welcomed and supported in our parishes, let us pray to the Lord.
R: Lord, hear our prayer.
- Watch NCPD online training, “How Can We Help? Parish Support for Veterans” at http://www.ncpd.org/webinars/veterans
- Ask the priest chaplain at your nearby base or VA hospital to concelebrate and/or offer the homily or a reflection after communion.
- Invite your local Scout troop or JROTC unit to participate by presenting and retiring the US flag.
- Vets need jobs…Have an employment networking reception after Mass, asking parishioners to talk to Vets about their own work experience.
- Vets need faith formation…Reconciliation can be a vital sacrament to these Vets; remind them that you as a priest can offer reconciliation face to face or privately or at regular confession times.
- Vets need to tell their stories…consider offering a half-day retreat for veterans
- Sanctuary Environment and the American Flag:For guidance and direction for the placement of the American Flag in the church, go to the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/architecture-and-environment/display-of-flags-in-catholic-churches.cfm
More resources can be found at these websites:
- Archdiocese for the Military Services USA
- National Catholic Partnership on Disability’s veterans’ resources page
- Georgetown Academy for Veterans
- Joining Forces
- John Sippola, et. al., Welcome Them Home Help Them Heal: Pastoral care and ministry with service members returning from war, Whole Person Associations, Inc., Duluth, MN, 2009, http://www.welcomethemhomebook.com
- Nancy Sherman, “Hidden Wounds: Healing After a Soldier’s Homecoming,” America: The National Catholic Weekly, May 21, 2012, pp. 13-16.
Active Duty Military
Blessings for those leaving for or returning from deployment:
When parishioners are being deployed, consider a special blessing of them before the final blessing at Mass. The following prayers may be used and adapted as needed:
- O God, you led your servants Abraham and Sarah from their home and guarded them in all their wanderings. Guide this servant of yours, N. Be a refuge on the journey, shade in the heat, shelter in the storm, rest in weariness, protection in trouble, and a strong staff in danger. We give you thanks for him / her: bind us together now, even though we may be far apart. Grant this through Christ our Lord.(Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)
- All-powerful and merciful God, you led the children of Israel on dry land, parting the waters of the sea; you guided the Magi to your Son by a star. Help these, our brothers and sisters and give them a safe journey. Under your protection let them reach their destination and come at last to the eternal haven of salvation, through Christ our Lord. (Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)
- May almighty God keep you from all harm and bless you with every good gift. Amen. May he set his word in your heart and fill you with lasting joy. Amen. May you walk in his ways, always knowing what is right and good. Amen. And may almighty God bless you all… (Book of Blessings, Ch. 67)
- When parishioners are returning from deployment, consider a similar prayer and blessing.
Belonging Starts Here
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Mary O’Meara, Executive Director: [email protected]