Washington D.C., Nov 22, 2013 / 10:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The 50th anniversary of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination has prompted many Catholics to remember the first Catholic president’s impact on American life and the deep grief and shock his death caused.
“So many people can recall exactly where they were when they got the news of Kennedy’s death,” Brendan Moore, national president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, told CNA Nov. 20.
Moore, who now heads the Irish-American Catholic fraternal order, said he was a college freshman in Washington, D.C., when the president was killed in Dallas.
Moore said his reaction was “absolute shock and disbelief.”
“I think there was a tremendous, widespread sense of shock. Irish-Americans in particular, but I would have to say, the entire American nation, shared in this sorrow.”
Moore said it was “very significant” that Kennedy was the first Catholic U.S. president, but the president’s “idealism” resonated with all Americans.
“He provided us with a sense of enthusiasm, almost a contagiously upbeat approach to our country, as leading the world, and being a tremendous resource for other nations. He really encompassed a desire to work with other nations, not just to advance American interests, but to improve living conditions and relationships throughout the world.”
Many U.S. leaders have already marked the anniversary of the president’s death.
President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Nov. 20 laid a wreath at Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, where an eternal flame marks his grave.
Washington, D.C.’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, which hosted President Kennedy’s funeral Mass on Nov. 25, 1963, will hold a Choral Mass of Remembrance at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, the anniversary of his death. The Mass will be celebrated by cathedral rector Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson. The homilist will be Father Bryan Hehir, professor of religion and public life at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians are hosting a memorial Mass and community reflections at Denver’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m. local time.
Moore said that Kennedy’s Irish background “really resonated” with Irish-Americans.
“I think many, many people were able to identify with him even though he came from an extremely wealthy background,” he said.
The shock of Kennedy’s assassination was also “deeply felt” in Ireland, which sent an honor guard from the Irish Defense Forces to (Read More)