Sunday, October 21, 2007

Military service untenable without chaplains


Letter to the Duluth NewsTribune: October 21, 2007

What do these names have in common: Steve Adrian, John O’Neal, David Gleeson, Leo Hannan, Matt Hannan, James Hayden, William Zorichak, Felix Kuras, Greg Lucas, Paul McDonald and Peter Lambert? First, that the ACLU, church-state separationists, atheists and multiple bigots would consider them enemies and would disallow the great amount of good they’ve done.

So who are they?

They all are or were Catholic priests, except one. They all were military chaplains, except two. Greg Lucas, a layman and soldier from Duluth, served as a chaplain’s assistant in Germany. Father Hayden of Duluth, ordained on March 25, 1944, wanted to become a chaplain. Bishop Welch decided he ought to get at least one year’s experience in parish priesthood before entering the military. The war ended by then. Frs. Adrian, who was in the Navy, and O’Neal, who was in the Army, were from the St. Paul archdiocese. Frs. Leo Hannan and Matt Hannan were from Proctor. Kuras and Zorichak were from the Duluth diocese. Lambert was from Virginia. McDonald is now retired in his hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. Lambert and McDonald were Air Force members. Adrian was in the Navy. The rest were in the Army.

All those older than me are now deceased. Frs. McDonald and Lambert are still with us. I am sure there are great numbers of veterans living and dead who are immensely grateful that our government did not disallow having and paying for chaplains. What a huge disaster if they had.

I spent a lot of close friendship time with Frs. Leo Hannan and Kuras in the years before they died. I heard many stories from them. They heard Jesus, who said, “Blessed are they who [are willing to] lay down their lives for a friend.”

Father Richard Partika

1 comment:

FutterMutter said...

I remember Father Zorichak! He was the Chaplain in Aschaffenburg, Germany when I was there as a little Army Brat. Unless my memory fails me, he was the chaplain who led members of the congregation on a whirlwind tour of Italy - catching all the major sites of religious significance in 10 days, including an audience with the Pope!