Traditionally, love of country has been linked with love of God. Our war veterans in 1984 chose to keep the flame of patriotism alive by establishing an organization bearing the name “Veterans of St. Louis Parish”. Founded by parishioner Bernard R. Lemoine with the support of the late Rev. René Dufour, Pastor, this association gained incorporation in 1986 as the first Catholic Veterans Organization in Massachusetts.
For members and for the community, this society involves:
◦Monthly meetings of men and women who have engaged in the common experience of serving in the United States Armed Forces
◦Participation in patriotic demonstrations for Memorial Day and other holiday celebrations both through religious and civic expressions
◦Offering a comforting presence of the military at veterans’ funerals
◦Promoting good will and creativity in parish and neighborhood programs by volunteering veterans’ services.
In its brief history, this organization has:
◦Planned and built the all new Centralville Memorial Monument honoring World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans
◦Sponsored and directed the three Lowell Catholic Telethons in favor of education (donations totaling $100,000.00 helped finance Catholic School attendance at Lowell Catholic High School for 75 young people)
◦Planned and developed the Centralville Veterans Memorial Parkway which was completed in 1996 and honors 2,700 veterans. (This project has remained on going with the addition of several Memorial Stones.)
Parishioners and friends enjoy the annual Mass and banquet honoring a Person Of The Year at the end of January; and the Memorial Day parade with Mass and reception in the parish setting is an annual booster shot of patriotic devotion that educates the young and rejuvenates the old.
As the recent Persian Gulf War has given veteran status to countless young people, the organization looks forward to welcoming them in its ranks. Like all true Americans today, we experience a surge of confidence in our government and gratitude to God for His great gifts to our nation. We served in the past! We long for the privilege to exercise patriotism in the future!
(Posted: April 2002)