On a sunny Sunday morning St. Timothy’s Catholic Church unveiled a statue dedicated to all Catholic chaplains who have served in war. The statue was blessed by Bishop John Noonan. The dedication program was led by parishioner Jack Houston and included the American Legion Post 347 Honor Guard and St. Timothy’s choir singing the National Anthem and “God Bless America.”
Joe Quinn, a decorated U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, talked about the statue representing all the chaplains, and that the statue will have many meanings and each veteran will make it their own.
He went on to highlight the five Catholic chaplains who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. They are Father Emil Kapaun, an Army chaplain from Kansas, who died as a prisoner of war in Korea; Father Vincent Capodanno, a priest from Staten Island, New York, who died when, despite his own war injuries, he tended injured Marines during a battle in Vietnam; and Father Joseph O’Callahan, a Jesuit priest and Navy chaplain in World War II, who ministered to injured sailors on a ship hit by two bombs The other two are Father Charles J. Watters, from New Jersey, who served in Vietnam. He rescued wounded men at the Battle of Dak To and ran through intense gunfire to help wounded soldiers. He died in the worst “friendly fire” incident in Vietnam. The fifth chaplain is Father Angelo Liteky, who won his medal for carrying 20 wounded soldiers to safety during intense fighting on a search-and-destroy mission in Vietnam.
Representing four branches of the military were Army Retired Chief Warrant Officer Jim Cote, Navy Nurse Corp retired Commander Peg Nye, former Air Force Airman First Class John DeLuca and retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Ralph Hoffman.
Two years in the planning, the statue was designed by Gregory Marra out of Sarasota. The statue depicts a lone chaplain holding chalice. A kneeling bench for prayer is in front of the statue.