St. Paul’s honors World War II’s four immortal chaplains
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Catasauqua, held a service honoring the four immortal chaplains Feb. 12.
The Rev. Scott Paradise told the story of the four U.S. Army chaplains assigned to the SS Dorchester who sacrificed their own lives the ship sank. They gave up their life jackets when the supply ran out to ensure the survival of other military men. Paradise said the chaplains joined arms, said prayers and sang hymns as they went down with the ship. The tragedy occurred during World War II Feb. 3, 1943. A total of 672 men perished with the sinking of the ship.
The chaplains included George Lansing Fox, of Lewistown, Pa.; Alexander David Goode, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Clark Vandersall Poling, of Columbus, Ohio; and John Patrick Washington, of Newark, N.J.
Paradise said the chaplains “soothed apprehensions and brought solace” and “calmed frightened men.”
“The self sacrifice of the four chaplains was a heroic tale,” Paradise added. “It is our charge to see that this brief part of history is not lost.”
During the ceremony, Bible readings were taken from Isaiah 49:13-17 and Psalm 23, along with the singing of hymns.
A candle lighting was conducted at the conclusion of the ceremony in honor of the four chaplains.
The Catasauqua American Legion Post 215 participated in the event. The members posted and retired the colors during the ceremony.
Paradise said this is the first year St. Paul’s church has conducted the ceremony.