At St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, CA, we have a Mass for Memorial Day. It is not treated as a regular weekday Mass, but the attendance is fairly good, especially since the parish is located in an area populated mostly by Mexican immigrants.
Normally, there are no "special intentions" for this Mass. If you are not Catholic, Masses are usually "said" for an intention. It could be for anything, but most of the time it is for the soul of someone who is deceased. One of the spiritual works of mercy that Catholics are called to do is to pray for the dead, hence the popularity of having a Mass "said" for someone who is deceased.
Parish policy be damned. I called the parish secretary and let her know I wanted today's Mass be said for the soul of Major Stuart Wolfer, a mensch in every sense of the word, who was killed serving in the US Army in Iraq in April 2008.
"I'll have to clear it with the boss, " Vera said, referring to our pastor.
"Tell him I'll kick his butt if he says no," I told her. She laughed - she knows that he and I are good friends and it would be done.
Yesterday, I received a text from him: It would be my honor . . .
So for those who knew Stu, especially our fellow classmates from Loyola Law School, Class of '02, in Los Angeles, today's Memorial Day Mass at St. Joe's was said for him. I told my priest, Stu was a nice Jewish boy who would have laughed, not mockingly, and appreciated the gesture.
Normally, just a name is mentioned. Father John went out of his way to say a few things about Stuart. And those who showed for Mass on such a day, not a Sunday, they are the faithful, and heads bowed in prayer in remembrance of Stuart Wolfer.
Today's Gospel, from the Magnificat:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
After Mass, Father John and I went to lunch, at Johnny Reb's. They were selling today glasses of "Jarhead Red," as a special, with proceeds going to establish scholarships for the children of fallen Marines. John and I had two glasses each.
And with the first glass, John looked at me and raised it: "To Stuart Wolfer . . ."
I raised mine, "To Stu . . . and all who have fallen . . ."
I told John how Stuart had worked to make sure Jewish-American soldiers in Iraq had tefillin and psalm books to practice their faith. We agreed - honor be unto him who performed in the service of both his country and his God.
Keep these people in your prayers today.