Memorial Day 2009…
VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) – At 6 p.m. today, after celebrating Vespers, the Pope travelled by car to the Polish military cemetery at Montecassino which contains the bodies of 1,052 soldiers who died in the battle of May 1944 against German forces occupying the hill on which the abbey stands.
The Holy Father lit a votive candle and recited the following prayer for the fallen of all countries in all wars:
“O God, our Father, endless source of life and peace, welcome into Your merciful embrace the fallen of the war that raged here, the fallen on all wars that have bloodied the earth. Grant that they may enjoy the light that does not fail, which in the reflection of Your splendour illumines the consciences of all men and women of good will. You, Who in Your Son Jesus Christ gave suffering humanity a glorious witness of Your love for us, You, Who in our Lord Christ gave us the sign of a suffering that is never in vain, but fruitful in Your redeeming power, grant those who yet suffer for the blind violence of fratricidal wars the strength of the hope that does not fade, the dream of a definitive civilisation of love, the courage of a real and daily activity of peace. Give us your Paraclete Spirit so that the men of our time may understand that the gift of peace is much more precious than any corruptible treasure, and that while awaiting the day that does not end we are all called to be builders of peace for the future of Your children. Make all Christians more convinced witnesses of life, the inestimable gift of Your love, You Who live and reign for ever and ever Amen”.