The Diocese of Venice will be hosting the 14th Annual Catholic Mass on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at the Sarasota National Cemetery.
“The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the best way we can honor our veterans, both living and deceased, to whom we owe a great debt,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “This commemorative Mass reminds us not only of veterans’ service and sacrifice, but also of the great luxury of our personal freedoms. We are blessed!”
The Mass at 3 p.m., preceded by an opening ceremony at 2:45 p.m., is held with the intention of thanking and honoring all men and women who have served our country, many of whom are laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery. It is also an opportunity to honor and pray for those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. All military service personnel, both active and retired, are encouraged to wear their uniforms to the Mass.
Organized by the Diocese of Venice, the annual Mass started in 2010, just two years after the National Cemetery was dedicated. Since that time, the cemetery and Mass have grown. More than 25,000 veterans and their spouses are interred in the National Cemetery since opening. The Diocese is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery. This effort to honor veterans is assisted every year by the Knights of Columbus, who work diligently to support this annual event.
The opening ceremony will include patriotic music, hymns, as well as the Presenting and Posting of the Colors. The Mass, concelebrated by priests from across the Diocese of Venice, will follow immediately.
After the Mass, Bishop Dewane and concelebrating priests, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, will proceed to the nearby graves where they will stand in silent prayer as “Taps” is played.
A military display will be nearby with flags representing the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.
Sarasota National Cemetery is located on State Road 72 (exit 205 at Clark Road), approximately four miles east of Interstate 75. Ample parking is provided, and golf cart shuttles will be available for those in need of assistance. A water station and restrooms will be in place for the ceremony, but visitors are encouraged to wear a hat and sunscreen. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early.