The May Bank Holiday weekend was supposed to mark three days of commemorative events and celebrations for the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Necessary restrictions to contain COVID-19 have, rightly, changed the shape of how we celebrate the contribution of those who fought with such courage for our freedom.
Victory in Europe Day marks the day, towards the end of World War Two, when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end on the continent.
Bishop Paul Mason, the Catholic Bishop of the Forces, recognises something of the war-time community spirit and solidarity in today’s very different battle:
“It’s an ironic twist of fate that our VE Day celebration of victory and liberation should find us both embattled and locked down.
“How readily we have seen in these days, however, that same spirit of determination and pulling together of our forebears in World War Two.
“Although we are not able to mark the 75th anniversary as planned, I am sure it will not stop us from remembering them, thanking them and celebrating the courage of all those who bought our freedom at such cost.
“We pray for them and ask God to inspire us with that same sense of sacrifice in our own lives.
“May they all rest in peace.”
President of the Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates a live-streamed Thanksgiving Mass for VE Day from Westminster Cathedral – beginning with two minutes’ silence – at 11am on Friday 8 May.
Follow the Mass at churchservices.tv/westminster.
Image Credit: Magnus Manske