January 4, 2010
WE ALL know that on Christmas Day, a terrorist tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner. A tragedy was thwarted thanks to the bravery of his fellow passengers. Most of all, we need to thank God that 289 lives were saved. Now, again, there is fear and anxiety about air travel. The government is trying to calm the public. The president is doing his best to reassure people that flying will still be safe. Yet instead of seeing one another as human beings, we have made this debate increasingly political.
November 6, 2009 |
The prayer list is long at Chapel 'n Chow, the church service held in what is known as the "backside" of the PhiladelphiaPark racetrack. A jockey crushed her knee after her horse got spooked in a stall. A groomer is battling lymphoma. An exercise rider says simply, "For my wife and kids. " The three are among the 1,000 people who work with the horses each day, often away from the glare of the racetrack. Among them, 150 live at the track. Many show up at the gate, looking for a job, with few belongings.
October 21, 2009 |
Sister Marie Therese Carr doesn't sprinkle the athletes with holy water before a game, like one of her colleagues at Neumann University, but her blessings permeate the team just as deeply. "She's like our biggest fan," said Melissa "Liddy" Haines, 21, a member of the girls' volleyball team at the Aston, Delaware County, school. "Like our mascot," chimed in another player. "Our grandmother," said a third. "She just lifts our spirits," added a fourth. The 70-something retired high school English teacher is the team's chaplain, and at Neumann, all 19 sports teams have one. It isn't about calling upon God for winning: The chaplains lead teams in prayer before games, offer guidance on personal and school issues, lend an ear during losses and roster cuts, and point out good sportsmanship and not-so-good.
March 12, 2009 |
The Rev. George S. Hewitt, 86, of Havertown, a Methodist minister, died Saturday of heart failure at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, where he had been chaplain and founding director of the pastoral care unit. In 1984, Dr. Hewitt left his position as pastor at Drexel Hill Methodist Church to become chaplain at the hospital and to direct its pastoral care program. In 1994 he told a reporter that he visited every new patient and informed clergy from the 110 congregations that the hospital area serves when one of their members was hospitalized.
December 19, 2008 |
Dorothy Ward, 81, of Phoenixville, a retired special-education teacher and hospital chaplain, died Dec. 11 of complications from Guillain?Barr? syndrome, a muscular disease, at Manor Care in King of Prussia. For 10 years, until retiring in 1999, Mrs. Ward was certified staff chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, assigned to the trauma division. One or two days a week she flew aboard PennStar helicopters, which transport critical-care patients and provide on-the-scene services at accident sites.
June 9, 2008 |
Msgr. Thomas J. Hilferty, 80, pastor emeritus of Queen of Peace Church in Ardsley and a Vietnam War veteran, died of a heart attack Wednesday at St. Madeleine Sophie rectory in Mount Airy. For the last five years, he had assisted with liturgies at St. Madeleine Sophie Church and had just said Mass when he became ill. Msgr. Hilferty served as pastor of Queen of Peace Church from 1992 until becoming pastor emeritus in 1998. He then assisted the pastor at St. Agnes Church in West Chester.
February 3, 2008 |
For 10 anxious days the crewmen on the American transport ship Dorchester watched the frigid North Atlantic for enemy periscopes, imagining how their lives might end. Then, 65 years ago this morning, came the explosion, the shudder, the smoke and screams, and the scramble for life jackets that would make heroes of the Dorchester's four chaplains. Distinguished Service Crosses, a special Congressional Medal of Valor, presidential speeches, a postage stamp, a memorial chapel in Philadelphia, and a national day of recognition followed.
November 20, 2007
The war continues inside, even after you come home. That was made even clearer in a report by Portland State University researchers that tracked more than 320,000 men, a third of whom had served in the U.S. military between 1917 and 1994. The report released in June found that male vets were twice as likely to kill themselves as other men, and were 58 percent more likely to use a gun to commit suicide. These men did not have higher rates of death from disease, but they did suffer much higher rates of various psychological disorders.
September 28, 2007 |
A former Camden police officer and department chaplain pleaded guilty yesterday to official misconduct for lending a friend a gun in a plot to rob drug dealers. Michael Hearne, 43, faces a seven-year sentence. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped conspiracy, weapons, money-laundering and attempted-robbery charges. The sentence will be "flat," meaning there will be no parole ineligibility. Hearne also may apply for a supervised release program after serving 60 days.
March 17, 2007 |
The Rev. Kevin C. Trautner, 59, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Norristown and an enthusiastic Irishman, died of a heart attack Tuesday at Phoenixville Hospital. For 13 years, Father Trautner ministered at St. Francis as an assistant to the pastor, parish administrator and, since 2002, pastor. He was loyal to the elderly and visited every homebound member of the parish at least monthly, said the Rev. Joseph Arnholt, a friend for 40 years. Father Trauner, the son of a funeral director, considered funerals an important part of his work, Arnholt said, and he spent a great deal of time preparing homilies for the deceased.