Cardinal O’Malley sends holiday message to troops

.- To mark Thanksgiving and in preparation for Christmas, Cardinal Sean O’Malley sent holiday greetings to the military men and women from the Archdiocese of Boston who are on tour, as well as to their families and to military chaplains.

In a message posted on his blog, the cardinal-archbishop of Boston said he encourages everyone in the archdiocese to pray daily for military men and women in combat and for those who have returned “after suffering physical or psychological harm.”

“The heavy burden of ensuring, maintaining and fostering peace and freedom falls on your shoulders here on earth,” he continued. “Throughout the history of our country, we have witnessed the sacrifices of the men and women who protect and serve our nation to ensure that we may enjoy the privilege of freedom, including the religious freedom that brings us hope, strength and personal peace in our lives. We are grateful for your many sacrifices.”

Chaplains have reported that the current conflict has resulted in a very high number of amputees, the cardinal noted. “May God grant you courage and strength….Know that everyone at home is praying for your speedy and safe return and an end to the conflict.”

The cardinal recognized the feelings of anxiety and stress that the families of these troops are experiencing, especially during the holidays. He assured them that they are being prayed for.

He also recognized that some of their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, have died in combat.

They “have made the ultimate sacrifice on earth and have given their lives while serving our country,” he said. “Your tears are our tears. Your loss is our loss. While it is never easy to lose someone close to you, we pray that you will find comfort in your faith and in Jesus Christ. As the mass prayers remind us, ‘Life is changed, not ended.’”

Finally, the cardinal thanked military chaplains for fulfilling their vocation and their sacrifices.

“You make the sacraments present to our soldiers in their greatest moment of need,” he wrote. “The kindness, comfort, counsel and support that you provide to those in the military, regardless of their faith or religion, and to their families, is invaluable.”

See Cardinal O’Malley’s complete message at  www.cardinalseansblog.org.

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