Celebrate Veterans Day with Saint John

Honor Those Who Dedicated Their Lives to Our Freedom on November 11, 2020, at 9 AM

We will hold our annual Veterans Day Mass, both in person and virtually, on November 11, 2020, at 9 AM. Please join our Knights of Columbus and our Parish Family. virtually or in person, to honor and celebrate those that have dedicated their lives to serve our country and protect our freedoms.

For many of our Parish Family, the church is the singular part of our campus they interact with, aside from the parking lots and walkways. We are much more than the church, which will always be the core of our community and our faith. As part of our continuing illustration of Saint John as an enlivening, inviting place for our parish and our community, I wanted to showcase some lesser-known areas of our facilities and grounds. Hopefully, you will get a chance to visit them the next time you come.

Jean-Paul Boucher, Business Manager

It is a stark and visceral image as you enter our church campus and park in the Front Lot. The “Lest We Forget” statue stands tall below the American Flag, the yellow and white Papal Flag with the Vatican crest, and our blue eagle of Saint John the Evangelist. This location is called our Veterans Memorial. This spot is one of my favorite places at Saint John. I take my Faith Formation classes there to have discussions sitting on the benches. I go there to reflect on the operations of our church and understand how so many have sacrificed to give us the opportunity to freely and openly worship and heal together. As a Veteran myself, it fills me with joy to be able to share this beautiful illustration of our faith, honor, and service.

For those that come in the side entrance and do not park in the front, I highly recommend you take a walk before or after Mass out the front of the church and visit this memorial. The first thing you will see is the amazing statue of Jesus embracing a soldier. This is a poignant illustration of how the emotional and physical scars of war are cleansed through Christ’s loving embrace, which is also the source of a soldier’s strength. To truly experience the power of this statue, you need to walk all the way around it, seeing the expressions on both Jesus’ and the soldier’s faces. I have heard that people have come to our church due to the fact that we have the “Lest We Forget” statue on our grounds. Sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz, who is also responsible for our Crucifix in our Life Center and the Homeless Jesus Statue at the walkway to the Prayer Garden, is widely known for his religious artwork, and we are blessed to be a primary location for it in Southwest Florida.

The rest of the Veterans Memorial is just as touching. Benches for sitting can be found around the statue, with intentions carved into them. On the ground of the memorial, you will find stones that have been dedicated to parishioners and their families and friends. Many of the stones have the crests of their tours of duty, service branch or division. These bricks illustrate the love and remembrance we all feel for the soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, and first responders that have protected us. If you have a desire to add a name to our Veterans Memorial, please contact me and we can set up a time to discuss it. The cost of a brick is only $150.

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