ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD (CNS) — Just hours after a Marine aircraft crashed off the east coast of Australia, killing three Marines, a U.S. Catholic chaplain serving on the USS Bonhomme Richard offered a Mass and prayers Aug. 6 for the victims, the survivors and their families.
Father David J. Hammond, a Navy chaplain who holds the rank of lieutenant, said the Mass in the ship’s Star of the Sea Chapel, according to a news release from the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
The three Marines were killed when their MV-22 Osprey went down in the Coral Sea while trying to land on a Navy ship Aug. 5.
Military officials Aug. 8 identified the three as 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine; Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas; and Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles. New reports said dive teams continued to recover debris from the crash site.
On the night of the tragedy, Father Hammond offered a prayer over the USS Bonhomme Richard’s public address system. It was at 10 p.m., which is a prayer is always offered on U.S. Navy vessels, the archdiocese said.
“Father in heaven, author of life, we have witnessed tragedy today and it has shaken us,” the priest prayed. “Be with us as we hope, as we grieve, as we struggle with what we feel or what we think we should feel. The questions we ask do not have easy answers — allow us to listen and support each other as we face them.
“Give us the courage to be silent when we need silence, and to speak when we need to talk,” he continued. “Give us patience and consideration as we honor the trials and sacrifices of our brothers and sisters — in war and in peace, in death and in life. Console us, Lord, with the knowledge that your mercy is eternal, and your love is everlasting. Amen.”
In Washington, at archdiocesan headquarters, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said in a statement: “My heart goes out to the families of the Marines who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to those with them on the Osprey, and to their shipmates.”
“I join my prayers for the repose of their souls to those of Father Hammond and I give thanks that he was on board to offer consolation and sustainment, but especially the Eucharist, which only a priest can provide,” the archbishop added.
Archbishop Broglio commended Father Hammond, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, and other U.S. military chaplains “who put their lives on the line daily to serve those who serve.”
The archdiocese said that about 210 Catholic priests are currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. About four dozen of those priests, like Father Hammond, serve in the Navy.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: