I just returned from the 234th Anniversary of the United States Navy Chaplain Corps at Naval Station Mayport Florida. It was great to catch up with a few chaplains I served with in Puerto Rico, Okinawa, Fallujah, Camp Pendleton, and the Naval Hospital. The chaplain Corps History slide show was very moving to see some great chaplains who laid down their lives for us like Father Cappadano and Father Emil Kapaun.
I especially remember Father John Newton, USN, CHC, CDR, who died in February. He was the first priest to move from the ambo and preach in front of us when he was the Chaplain at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He inspired me to become a priest and stayed friends with me thoughout the last 31 years until he died last February in Hawaii. I really miss him. He was the priest who would come into our dorms late at night or on a lonely weekend and just be our Father. He was the Padre for all of the midshipmen, and in some ways, more for those who weren’t Catholic.
So this is how we did our Toasting:
The Commander in Chief
THe United States Navy
The United States Marine Corps
The United States Coast Guard
The Untied States Army
The United States Air Force
The Navy Chaplain Corps
The Deployed Service Members
Our Fallen Shipmates
Then we had The Cutting of the Cake
Blessing of the Dinner
and then we closed with the Singing of the Navy Hymn followed by Benediction.
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the resltless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea
Eternal Father, grant we pray
To all Marines both night and day
The courage, nonor, strength and skill
Their land to serve, Thy law fulfill
Be Thou the shield for evermore
From every peril to the Corps
God bless those who keep the watch while we sleep in peace.
Vocati ad Servituum
Called to Serve!