Four Chaplains Remembered

 Four Chaplains Remembered

By Katie McFadden

On Sunday, February 4, St. Francis de Sales Church held its annual Mass to honor the Four Chaplains of the troop ship Dorchester, which was sunk off of Newfoundland by a torpedo from a German U-boat during WWII on February 3, 1943, killing 675 soldiers and crew. Among those who died was Pvt. Daniel O’Connor, who lived in Rockaway and had attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy. About 230 survived. The Four Chaplains, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Methodist minister Rev. George L. Fox, Reformed Church minister Rev. Clark V. Poling and Roman Catholic priest Father John P. Washington, perished after giving their life jackets to others and helping them on to lifeboats. They stood together in prayer as the ship went down.

Each year, the SFDS parish remembers their sacrifice with a Mass, and a wreath laying ceremony at the plaque outside of the church dedicated to the Four Chaplains.

Sunday’s 81st anniversary Mass was celebrated with the Queens County American Legion, the Daniel M. O’Connell Post 272 and Auxiliary, and Cub Scout Pack 147. During the service, Queens County Chaplain Dominick Pepe told the story of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester and the actions of the Four U.S. Army Chaplains. U.S. Army Veteran Brian Galarza played Taps in tribute during the outside ceremony.

 Photos by Brian Galarza and Paul King.

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