You may find yourself this Monday, Memorial Day, visiting cemeteries in honor of a loved one who had fallen while serving in our nation's armed forces. But how and why did Memorial Day become a national holiday? We all know it is more than marking the start of summer or a chance to get some good deals on a mattress.

Memorial Day wasn't always the same "Memorial Day" we celebrate today. It started as Decoration Day at the end of the Civil War when the Grand Army of the Republic established that the nation decorate the graves of all those fallen in the service during the war. This would go on for a couple decades when Union and Confederate "Decoration Days" would be celebrated on different days, but by the 20th century the two would merge and become the Memorial Day that we celebrate today. Memorial Day is to pay homage to all who died in the military service. Starting in 1971, federal law decreed that it be observed on the last Monday of May instead of May 30th, as it had been. 

Field Masses to honor all of the men and women who have served God and our country are being offered at all Catholic Cemeteries in Chicagoland on Memorial Day.  According to the Office of Catholic Cemeteries, this tradition likely started over a century ago to remember all those who fought in battles in a sacred way.  The Masses were offered in the same environs as the battles - the battlefields.  The first Field Masses in cemeteries were offered in the sections where veterans were buried.  As the custom grew, so did the need to accommodate the numbers of participants, so Field Masses are now offered in easily accessible areas of cemeteries, and seating is provided.

These Field Masses are a Memorial Day salute to our country's heroes.  Not only do they honor the military who fought in battles, but all those who fight daily battles.  During all 37 masses, veterans present will be asked to come forward for a special blessing followed by the playing of taps.  On the way to your traditional BBQ, why not attend one, and if you have kids, introduce them to this custom?

Memorial Day Field Mass Times and Locations --

In addition, each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 pm local time.  It would be fairly easy to set your phone to remind you to make a special prayer for our veterans at this time. 

Do you have a relative or friend who is on active duty or who is a veteran?  Give them a call on Monday!  All of us can't serve, but we can certainly show our appreciation for those who do! 
Committing to a Three Year Pledge
See our Parishioners' take on the Rebuilding Our Home Campaign!
We are now in week four of May Pledge Month for our Rebuilding Our Home Campaign and have heard from many Parishioners that adding another week will provide the time they need to finalize their pledge. So here are the dates for fast, easy pledging! There will be tables at the back of church the weekends of 5/28-29 and June 4-5 with Steering Committee members available to hand you a pledge card. There will also be private areas set-up for you to complete your pledge card. In addition, on the following Wednesdays the church will be opened and tables will be set-up at the back of church at school drop off: 5/25 and 6/1. We are seeking your three year pledge which means committing to giving a set amount each year for the next three years e.g. a total pledge of $50,000 would mean an annual pledge of approximately $16,700 each year ($1,389/ month or $46.30/day) for three years. Don't forget the tax benefit of your pledge! As an example a pledge of $50,000 equates to an after tax total pledge amount of $33,500 - $36,000 depending on your tax bracket. The campaign gets the full amount of your pledge but you get the tax benefit, each year of your three year pledge. With your support, we will reach our $3 million goal, but we need 100% participation. If you haven't already discussed your pledge to Rebuilding Our Home, please consider doing so today and making your pledge during one of the easy pledge opportunities! We look forward to getting your pledge during May Pledge month!!

Important Upcoming Dates!

June 13 - 17 - VBS: Cave Quest

VBS: Cave Quest
Monday - Friday
June 13 - 17 2016

Register today!
Supplies Needed for Vacation Bible School!
We need: 
1) Dozens of new or used pool noodles! 
2) Partially used cans of spray paint (not new!) in any color! (Consider this an opportunity to clean out your garage!
3) And to borrow 3 artificial Christmas trees (just on loan from June 10 - 17. We promise that they WILL NOT be spray painted!

Please drop the noodles and cans in the box in back of church. Call 773.327.8955 or email the Parish Office (office@stjosaphatparish.org) to lend a Christmas tree! Thank You!
SJS Service Club
The SJS Service Club is collecting used school supplies and making a donation to BooksFirst, an organization that supplies under-resourced CPS schools with gently-used materials.  Please consider donating your family's extra supplies between May 31 and June 3 at the front desk of the school.