One of the joys, as I mentioned earlier, of attending the NCDVD conference each year is connection with my brother priests from across the country.
One such is Fr. Chad Z, who works as the Air Force recruiter for chaplains. His sorta psuedo boss, the guy who is responsible for priest personnel in the Military was also there, but I cannot remember his name. He does work in the Pentagon, tho!
During the social hour at the end of the day Tuesday, he was telling some stories of his experience in the military as a priest. I share one story he related here:
While he was in Chaplain Training School, which is sort of a basic training for the chaplains, he related that a Marine General (or a 'Higher Up,' I don't remember the ranks) came towards the end of the program to give them a pep talk and an introduction into life in the military. One of the Protestant Chaplains raised his hand to ask a question during the open forum portion: "Sir, what is your advice as to what we should do during open combat?"
The General, in a moment of political incorretness, asked the 25 or so new chaplains if there were any priests among them, four (including my storyteller) raised their hands. (One man raised his hand and said: "I'm an Episcopalian priest." He responded back: "No, I meant a Real Priest!"
The General looked at the gathered crowd and told them: "If you are in a combat situation, you stay the Hell out of these four men's way! They have something to do, they have something to offer which you do not have. Let them do their job!"
The priest who was telling the story went on to elaborate: During War Games, the soldiers that get marked as injured insist on being Anointed, they even insist that their buddies, who are not Catholic, get Anointed. They recognize that there is something real there, and that only the Catholic Priest has that and gives it to them!
Pray for our priest chaplains!