ANZAC Day and Easter

On Wednesday Australians celebrate Anzac Day.

Anzac day is a deep and complex event in the Australian psyche. Civic rituals and prayers occur in every town and suburb in the land. We also pick up the themes, nuances and mood in our Mass for the day. Anzac Day carries multiple overtones:
It is a martyr’s day when we commemorate the sacrifice of the fallen and honour those who gave their life that we might live.
It is a commemoration of the dead when we commend those who have died in war to the Lord, especially members of our own families.
It is a prayer for peace, because all war is horrible no matter what heroism it reveals.
It is a day of national identity, an Australian ‘coming of age’ a decade and a half after the formation of the commonwealth.
It is a story of victory in defeat, survival and life in the face of overwhelming odds.

Special texts are provided for the Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts, Prayer after Communion and Solemn Blessing for Mass on Anzac Day.

Opening Prayer

Lord our God, boundless provider,
source of peace that the world cannot give,
kindly hear our constant prayer
for those who bore witness to your own fidelity
by giving their lives for those they loved.
Resurrect them in our true homeland
and perfect that peace for which they longed and died.

Prayer after Communion

Father, source and lover of peace,
feed the flame in human hearts
so that those who have feasted
on the body and blood of the risen Son
may look forward to the lasting banquet
in our final home.

Solemn Blessing

The Father of mercies has given us an example of unselfish love
in the sufferings of his only Son.
Through your service of God and neighbour
may you receive his countless blessings.
You believe that by his dying
Christ destroyed death forever.
May he give you everlasting life.
Peace is God's gift to the world:
May the Holy Spirit be the breath of life
to those who labour in its cause.

Anzac Day always occurs close to Easter. One cannot but be impressed by the Easter symbolism which permeates all the interwoven themes of Anzac Day. It is deeply moving to recognise that at the heart of the Australian psyche is the mystery which we understand to be paschal, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Elizabeth Harrington