June 1, 1865: National Day of Mourning

Mourning Lincoln


Although a Thursday, the national day of mourning struck most Northerners like a Sunday.  Businesses and government offices were closed and people repaired to their churches where they prayed and heard sermons on Lincoln.  Pat McNamara at his blog in 2012 noted the remarks after communion of Father Sylvester Malone, the founder of Saints Peter and Paul parish in Brooklyn:

“Catholics, we join our tears to day with those of the nation. As citizens and as representatives of the great Catholic body, we are bowed down by this great, this fearful calamity, that has befallen us. Abraham Lincoln, the wise, the just, and Christian Magistrate, has been assassinated. But the event has a deeper significance. It is not that Abraham Lincoln has thus been murdered; it is more it is the President of the United States, the representative of a nation of freemen, the head and chosen of its people. We mourn to day for the Christian patriot gone from us, but we stand appalled and horror stricken at the murder of a magistrate whose heart was so filled with Christian charity and forgiveness for those who had, forgetting their allegiance, taken arms against the most humane government on earth, against their country. My friends, take up this new burden of woe as befits you. Pray today for the salvation of this nation now laboring under this dreadful affliction. Pray for it every day. The nation needs all your prayers. Pray that those in authority may have the Divine guidance and protection in the trying situation upon which they are entering.”

Go here to read more on Father Malone at McNamara’s Blog.

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One Comment

  1. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, and it’s not surprising that an Irish cleric in NYC would idealize a politician like this; many, especially Irish priests, were strongly influenced by an Americanist bent that sometimes clouded their Catholicity. It’s one thing to bemoan a criminal and evil assassination, but to refer to the America of Manifest Destiny as “the most humane” government?

    The Indians, the Mexicans, the civilians who suffered under Grant in Georgia and Hunter and Custer in the Shenandoah valley might disagree. But none of them were enlightened Yankees like this Irish priest, so we can safely discount their perspectives on the Federal government’s “humaneness.”

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