Sarasota National Cemetery Veterans Day Mass

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Sandra Beckley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

As we continue to progress with the design and construction of the assembly area at Sarasota National Cemetery, we are constantly reminded that there will be several potential uses for the space. This includes family gatherings following an interment service for quiet reflection, visitors stopping by to see what the assembly area is about, group tours of students learning about the military and special events where veterans are honored and remembered.

One such event was held on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, and was sponsored by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and all Knights of Columbus of the Diocese of Venice.

This was the second annual Veterans Day Catholic Memorial Mass held at Sarasota National Cemetery.  Approximately 900 were in attendance for the Mass held by Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice.  In addition to the bishop, 18 priests were present and participated. Music was led by Alex Dilan and vocalists Katherine Vershynina, Sara Peeples and Brandon Evans .

Opening ceremonies included  a welcome, Presentation of Colors, Singing of the National Anthem, Posting of Colors, Posting of the Floral Wreath followed by Posting of the Papal Flag.  Bishop Dewane spoke of the freedom enjoyed by all because veterans were willing to give their all. He reminded all that veterans are special people who deserve to be remembered daily.

At the conclusion of the Mass, all attendees were invited to join Bishop Dewane and the priests of the Diocese of Venice in silent prayer as they pray for eternal rest of the souls of those who have gone before us and rest here in this cemetery.  All were asked to continue to pray for those who have died serving our country, for veterans and for all men and women who continue to serve today.

Events such as this Mass will grow each year, this event doubled from the initial November 11, 2010 event where  about 450 people attended. I attended along with The Patterson Foundation Military Initiative event liaison Jerry Koontz to gather, observe and learn what groups of this size might need. The basic design of the assembly area has been developed, however, the final details are still being developed.

All events held in a national cemetery must be sponsored by a veteran-oriented group just as the Knights of Columbus served as this event sponsor. The sponsor is responsible for contacting the National Cemetery Administration through the Cemetery Director for approval to hold an event and arranging/ paying for necessary accommodations or supplies (chairs, audio support, first aid, water, programs, insurance, etc).

Please visit The Military Initiative page to learn more.

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