August 19, 1945: End of World War II.

(Passage from Provincial Annals, August 19, 1945 used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces, ending the hostilities of the Second World War. President Harry Truman proclaimed August 19 as a national day of thanksgiving for the end of the war. In Emmitsburg, Father Francis Dodd, C.M., Provincial Director, said the prayer below to the Sisters on that day. It is recorded in the Emmitsburg Province Provincial Annals.

August 19th. Second Mass, a High Mass for thanksgiving for Peace and to remember the dead who sacrificed their lives that we might be protected. Father Dodd sang the Mass after which we had Exposition all day closing with Holy Hour from 4:30 to 5:30. Father gave a very inspiring talk during the Holy Hour.

Extracts from Father’s Sermon at the Holy Hour

Today has been set aside as a day of Thanksgiving by our President, to thank God for Peace and also to be a Prayerful Memorial to our Hero Dead. This proclamation from a man who from the very beginning was not afraid to being God’s name into his message to the people. My dear Sisters, we have sought God in our need and the greatest military leaders have been those of the Sisters who have prayed to Almighty God to give victory followed by a changeless and lasting peace. We have prayed to our Divine Savior to grant this peace; we have called upon our Savior, King and Center of all hearts, to give this peace, and as we thank Him today; let us not forget that peace can be only a true and lasting peace when it comes from union of our hearts with the sacred heart of our Savior. We forget this because of our selfishness. Our neighbor has duties to God as well as we but we forget the teachings of Our divine Lord. Now let us strive more earnestly to love these teaching and live by them.

While this peace is for our land, we know that in many places the defeat of the common enemy has opened the way of civil strife. We want to beg our Divine Savior to draw all hearts to His own heart and to teach them as He alone can, how peace can be procured and preserved … He prayed for His enemies so we must ask God to forgive those who have offended, only sons among us but among all nations. Our hearts cannot meet in the heart of Christ while they harbor bitterness towards anyone. We will have peace only when our hearts beat as one with the heart of Christ.

Actual fighting has indeed ceased but there are great problems to solve by those in authority. But the mind of man is not sufficient to solve all problems that will be presented. Beg our divine Lord to give grace and light that they may have the courage to act with justice, that they may have charity for all people …

We cannot forget our debt of gratitude to those who have struggled so valiantly; who have made the great sacrifice of life for us. It is for us to pray for the repose of their soul … We also owe a great deal to those who are living, working and suffering the sorrows of separation from their loved ones, we ought particularly to pray for them now … Pray that the peace that is now being negotiated be founded on charity; that it may be enduring; that it may be a peace which will be a benefit to Holy Mother the Church, that she may spread all around and teach all nations to love our Savior and to find in love for Him charity and love, one for another, and that the coming of His Kingdom may grant us peace.”

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