"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Monday, August 23, 2004 A Jesuit chaplainin Najaf:
The Marines screamed for a medic and tried to stanch the blood. But in the end, there was nothing they could do.
In a surreal battlefield of tombstones, in a Muslim cemetery thousands of miles from home, a young Marine lay unconscious after a mortar barrage, five minutes from death.
Lt. Cmdr. Paul Shaughnessy, a chaplain, pressed a thumb across the motionless corporal's blood-drenched forehead, made the sign of the cross and summoned the strength to perform last rites on a man he barely knew.
"I absolve you of all your sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," Cmdr. Shaughnessy said while kneeling beside Cpl. Roberto Abad, a 22-year-old from Los Angeles, just before he died Aug. 6. "May God, who gave you life, bring you everlasting life."
As U.S. troops cope with life -- and death -- on a faraway battlefield, military chaplains cope with them, offering prayers, comfort and spiritual advice to keep the U.S. military machine running. (Via Bettnet)
The late Rev. William Leonard, SJ, wrote a memoir of his three years as an Army chaplain in the South Pacific during the Second World War that was titled Where Thousands Fell. Here's an excerpt of a brief review that ran in the Trenton diocesan paper:
Reading it is like having a chat with Father Leonard, the Boston College professor who left the academic world to minister to soldiers in the jungles of New Guinea and the battlefields of the Philippines…
While serving six months in New Guinea, Father Leonard undertakes the building of a chapel with an altar. The Finschhafen altar was made of materials found at hand and donated by soldiers of all faiths. The materials included a Jeep piston for the incense burner, missile and shell casings for candle holders and the legs of the altar and a cross carved from mahogany, a native wood of New Guinea. He wanted to represent three things: a Catholic altar, the ordnance battalion and the hardships the soldiers faced in the tropics.
After the war, the altar was transported back to Boston, and then found a home in the U.S. Army Chaplain Museum.
Father Leonard leaves Finschhafen to participate in the beachhead invasion of Lingayen in the Philippines. Armed only with a bola knife to dig foxholes, he accompanies the soldiers inland where they endure Japanese bombs and shelling.
Through the words of Father Leonard, Where Thousands Fell pays tribute to all the chaplains who serve and die offering spiritual comfort to soldiers in war or peace. It is a story worth telling and remembering.
The US Army Chaplains Museum website has historic images of chaplains in the field.