From the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
02/01/2013

Archbishop Broglio to Give Homily on 70th Anniversary of Ultimate Sacrifice Paid by 4 U.S. Military Chaplains

Noon Mass scheduled February 3 at Saint Stephen Parish in Kearny, New Jersey

WASHINGTON, D.C.—His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, will be the main celebrant and homilist at a noon Mass, Sunday, February 3, 2013 at Saint Stephen Parish, 676 Kearny Avenue, Kearny, New Jersey to observe the 70th anniversary of the deaths of four United States military chaplains who sacrificed their lives so that others could survive a 1943 German submarine torpedo attack on a U.S. Army transport ship.

The four chaplains—Father Lt. John P. Washington, a Catholic priest; Rabbi Lt. Alexander D. Goode, a Jewish rabbi; Rev. Lt. Clark V. Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister; and Rev. Lt. George L. Fox, a Methodist minister—were all aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, carrying one-thousand tons of cargo and 902 servicemen, merchant seamen and civilian workers as part of a convoy traveling the North Atlantic on its way to a U.S. military base in Greenland when the torpedo struck its starboard side, killing or wounding many of the passengers.

As the Dorchester began to take on water, panic spread upon realization that life jackets and lifeboats were in short supply. The four chaplains gave up their life jackets and went down with the ship, leaving 230 survivors. Their sacrifice stands in history as an inspirational act of valor living out the notion of service to others, regardless of the price.  For the three Christian chaplains it was surely their application of Christ’s commandment to “love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13.) It is also remembered as an utmost demonstration of interfaith compassion and solidarity.