Sunday 14 August 2022

Chaplains in Action - Rosemarian V. Staudacher and H. Lawrence Hoffman - Vision Book #53

Chaplains in Action
Rosemarian V. Staudacher
H. Lawrence Hoffman (Illustrator)
Vision Books #53

This is one of the original 72 Vision Books for Young Readers. The originals were published between 1955 and 1969 by Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, Inc. Reprints of about half are available from Ignatius Press. This is not one of them. I wrote a piece about the series as a whole, Vision Books for Young Readers, after reading a few and wanting to know more about the series. This was one of the first that are out of print that I laid my hands on. It was an interesting read. I do not have a description of the book because the only copy I could tract down was missing the dust cover and could not find a description or dust jacket into online.

The chapters in the book are:
1. What Is a Chaplain? 
2. The Big Jump 
3· Chaplain Behind Bars 
4· Padre of the Wharves 
5· Conquering Suribachi 
6. Chaplain of Sawdustland 
7· Padre of the Texas Plains 
8. The Priest of Carville 
9· Chaplain in Moscow 
10. Soldier of Christ 
11. Dig in for Winter 
12. Two in Korea 

The first chapter deals with what a chaplain is and does on a basic level. The remaining 10 chapters give specific examples, a few from the military, some from schools, serving a diplomatic core, serving migrant workers and more.  I highlighted a few passages while working through this volume. Some of them are:

“CATHOLIC CHAPLAINS ARE, first of all, priests. When most people hear the word "priest" they think of their pastors who celebrate Mass, hear confessions, give Holy Communion, anoint the dying, and serve the people of the parish in many ways. These are, indeed, most important activities carried on by every priest. Chaplains ordinarily do all of these things too.”

“Chaplains in the armed forces are probably the best known of all. There have been official chaplains in the United States Army since the year 177 5 when the Continental Congress first adopted a resolution to provide pay for them.”

“History has recorded the actions of many famous Catholic chaplains-Father William Corby, C.S.C., at Gettysburg, Father Francis P. Duffy of the "Fighting 69th" in World War I, and a host of others.”

“Father Clark's ''hoodlums" are men and women paroled from prisons who need encouragement, jobs, places to live, and sometimes money to live on. 

Many a prisoner, re1eased after serving a lengthy term, has said determinedly: “I’ve got to make good." Part of his reason was the fact that Fat her Clark was counting on him to do so. And the ex-convict was counting on Father Clark's friendship. Father Clark adopted his middle name, "Dismas," chosen in honor of the Good Thief, more than ten years ago. He laughingly calls it "my alias."”

“Actually, the life of every chaplain is full of surprises. In the eleven chapters which follow, you will read about some of them. Up and down the length and breadth of the land are hundreds more chaplains whose stories may well be as important and as heroic. Yet the eleven stories chosen seem to represent, in a way, the colorful, unique and exciting work being done by chaplains everywhere.”

“For Father Suver, as for many others, the siege of Iwo Jima then was history. Yet he could never forget what he had seen on the island-horror, courage, heroism, love of fellowmen. As long as he lived he ·would remember in prayer the friends he left behind to rest in graves of volcanic ash.”

And at the end of the volume we are informed that:

“The stories you have read in this book are true. The chaplains whose adventures you have shared are real men, most of them still living today. If you could talk to them, you would find that they would be the first to deny being heroes. Yet no one can read their stories without discovering that chaplains have a special kind of courage, the courage to forget themselves.

They dedicate each day to God and spend it helping those special groups of people with whom they work, always aware of those people's special needs. They concentrate on giving, not getting-a secret of happiness and peace which we all may share.”

The chaplains profiled are:

Father Sampson – Paratrooper 
Father Gervase Brinkman, O.F.M. – Prison Chaplain
Father Thomas A. McDonough, C.Ss.R., chaplain for the port of New
Orleans - Catholic Maritime Clubs
Charles F. Suver, S.J., - Military Chaplain
Father Eddie Sullivan – Chaplain to the Circus and Circus Workers
Father Thomas Quinlivan, O.M.I. – chaplain to migrant workers
Rt. Rev. Francis Sadlier – Chaplain at the US National Leprosarium
Father Georges Bissonnette, Assumptionist Father – Diplomatic Core Moscow
Chaplain (Captain) Emil Kapaun – Military Chaplain 
Father Harold V. Heaney, - Navy chaplain assigned to Antarctica 
Father Cormac A. Walsh, O.M.I, a Franciscan priest and Army Chaplain
Father John L. Teufel, S.J. – Mikitary Chaplain in Korea

This was fascinating read, the profiles of 12 priests who severed as chaplains and some who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is inspiring and challenging. Reading these stories has inspired me to pray even more for vocations. They were lives of service in a different time.

Reading this volume was interesting. All of the chaplains profiled in the volume are Catholic Priests. There have been a lot of changes over the last 60 years. May chaplains these days in some similar circumstances are religious sisters, deacons, and even lay people. I have a friend who is a permanent deacon who is during the school year a High School Chaplain, and in the summer Serves in the military with Cadets. I have known a few priests who were chaplains in schools, but most these days at least in Canada are not priests. So this book is more a history text than a look at things today. 

A great read if you can lay your hands on a copy. But one that will leave you disheartened by how much things have changed.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 

Out of Print books in the Series:
Brother Andre of Montreal 
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young 

For all reviews and articles about Military Chaplains click here.

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