By Anne Marie Lara
In gratitude for all who have served our nation! That is the motto of a special ministry born in a parish community in Liverpool to honor our veterans.
St. Michael’s Shield Military Ministry was founded in 2013 to acknowledge, honor, thank and assist those currently serving in the Armed Forces, their families, Survivors and Veterans from all eras.
Although it was established by a small group of parishioners from Epiphany Parish—Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph the Worker Parishes in Liverpool—the ministry has extended hospitality throughout the diocese. All are welcome to join.
St. Michael’s Shield is not an organization of political motivation or advocacy, but simply a goodwill ministry founded to celebrate those who have served our country and to express our gratitude for their dedication and sacrifice.
The ministry’s name was inspired by Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and his description of the determination, strength, fidelity and tenacity of St. Michael the Archangel to do the will of God. These virtues are characteristic of many military members. It is not easy to put service before self. It can be laborious. Yet thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces do so knowing there is equal opportunity for achievement and tragedy. Why do people serve? Where do they get their inspiration from? Perhaps Mother Teresa knows:
The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace
As Catholics, we are called to serve one another. When we serve, we honor our Lord and experience unexpected blessings! You are invited to serve our nation’s military by offering a smile, a prayer or a “thank you” to someone in uniform. You can honor a military member with a donation to one of the many wonderful organizations that provide assistance to members of our military community such as Clear Path for Veterans (clearpathforvets.com ), American Red Cross (redcross.org), Southern Tier Veterans Support Group (stvsg.org), CNY Veterans Outreach Center (ucdevelopment.org), Operation Home Front (operationhomefront.org) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (taps.org).
St. Michael’s Shield ministry has:
• Assisted at Veterans Day Mass.
• Hosted Veterans Day Tribute Ceremonies and receptions.
• Maintained the Service Members Book of Remembrance and offered daily prayer for all listed within its pages.
• Provided ongoing fellowship to Veterans.
• Offered care packages to military members.
• Mailed greeting cards to Veterans.
• Attended funeral Masses for deceased Veterans.
• Provided deployment support to military families.
• Promoted patriotism through Flag Day celebrations.
• Spread awareness about benefits & resources for Service Members & Veterans.
If you are interested in offering this ministry at your parish and would like more information, please contact Anne Marie Lara at email@example.com.