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The Catholic Defender: Keeping The Full Court Press On The Devil

What a wonderful opportunity it is to speak before groups of strong Catholics out on the road.

I am so thankful that my wife, Gigi is sometimes able to participate as she did in Rangely and Meeker Colorado.

My wife and I have many times worked together in the medical field helping those who were sick.

I worked in the Emergency Room at the Blanchfield Army Hospital located at Fort Campbell Kentucky.

My Wife worked there as a Registered Nurse and many times we worked together.

That was a great blessing as I felt that we have always worked well as a team!

During my time in the Military, I was on several post/Division Championship Softball Teams. Gigi would always ensure I had the best equipment to play. I’ll always treasure those days.

Gigi would bring out a cowbell and that was great, we always knew from the stands when we hit a home run, scored, made great defensive plays.

On cold nights Gigi would bring out her Alabama blanket she would gladly share with the Hospital Commander. Yes, those were great times.

When we were serving in New Orleans, I was the chief RCIA Instructor for the Catholic Community on the Navy Post, Belle Chasse. Our little Parish was graced to have the Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Military come to conduct Confirmation for my class. What an honor this was. Gigi would participate singing at some of our functions using her auto-harp.

Gigi can sing and play several instruments. I can barely play a button with these modern day gadgets today? This is a case of opposites attracting each other because I am not noted for my singing, even though I love to sing.

It is always a great blessing to have Gigi being able to join me for any informal talk I give such as that at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. It sure felt like the good old days.

I wanted to stress on the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in their Parish as they have a great opportunity to do so.

What a blessing to learn that some of them were going to the Church at 5:00 in the morning to offer time with our Lord. That is very powerful. I gave example of various Eucharistic Miracles and how important it is for Catholics to dig deep into the truth of the Eucharist.

I also gave several examples of how important it is to strengthen ourselves in the truths of our holy Faith.

There was a great response in interest to what we talked about. It is so great to hear and listen to faithful Catholics and their stories.

That is a good reason to go where Jesus is calling us to go. It matters not if we are speaking before a large crowd or a small group. What matters is that God’s word is proclaimed and that we build strong faith.

It says in Ephesians 2:19-22 states, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

My first deployment with HHC 3/187 was in Panama. The Jungle was an interesting place to train. You definitely did not want to mess with the wild life because that could get you killed. They have what is called the “Bush Master” a snake that is very territorial and known to be aggressive. They are also very poisonous. When you go there to the Army Base there in Panama, you will see a jar with a finger that was bitten off by one of these snakes. They kept it there for us to see so we would not mess with any of the animals.

There also is the Fer D Lance that would surprise you then kill you very quickly. These are snakes you do not want to mess with out in the triple canopy jungle. We were setting up a bivouac when we discovered one of these snakes coiled in a tree right over the First Sergeant’s hooch (poncho utilized as a tent). That was an uneasy situation. We killed it with a blank shooting an M-16 at it’s head. You had to get close to it to make that kind of kill with firing a blank. The heat was dangerous, sunburns were not a small thing there, the jungle would be very dangerous without water.

I’ll never forget one morning waking up to the news that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Our training began to focus for the possibility of war. We trained extensively against Chemical attack and heat related injuries. It was reported to us that Saudi Arabia was going to be hot, 130 degrees in the shade. It was the beginning of Fall 1990, that we flew into King Fahd Airport being guided in by F-15′s. There was visibly seen about 40,000 empty body bags stacked near the runway.

That was a wake up call. This was the beginning of Operation Desert Shield. I soon discovered that the opportunity to witness for Christ was going to be incredible. I was able to speak with both Officers and Soldiers in the Saudi desert as they would come to me. I remember the Motor Pool Chief was worried that we were not going to make it home. He was raised Catholic, but had not been to Mass in years. I was able to console him through using the witness of the Saints. I was teaching Soldiers how to pray the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and read the bible as many would find time to visit me at my foxhole.

About 3-4 months into this deployment, we had a Catholic Priest assigned to our unit, I was able to have daily Mass right there in the desert. We would use an MRE box as an altar. I will always cherish celebrating Mass with the Father Cerone who was assigned with us in this place. We would walk the perimeter praying the Rosary together. Hearing bombs going off in the distance and gunfire just seemed to add a greater significance.

Years later, I had transferred out of the Rakkasons and was now assigned with the Meddac on Fort Campbell. One day I was going back to the 3/187 Battalion to check on an award when I ran into one of the Soldiers I had shared the Faith with, one of those foxhole experiences. I was very interested to learn that this Soldier was getting ready to go to noon Mass at Soldiers Chapel. What a blessing it was to learn that he was received into the Catholic Faith after returning back to America.

The Popes are calling for the “Springtime of Evangelization,” and we are called to hold fast to the traditions given to us by the Apostles by oral word (Sacred Tradition) or written letter (Sacred Scripture). This is our calling, and I am so thankful for my Wife, Gigi who is God’s greatest gift to me.

Going back to my basketball days, it is very important that we keep the pressure on keeping our faith central to our life. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque once reminded us, “We can scarcely give our enemy, the devil, greater joy than when we withdraw from Jesus, who takes away the power the enemy has over us.”

I remember basic training, we learned in bayonet training that we are to never back up but to continually move forward. If you pause or hesitate, that could get you killed. I had an Uncle that received the bayonet stabbed in the hip from an on charging Japanese during a close hand to hand fight in the Pacific during WWII, he survived only because he was alert and ready.

Today we have our own battle that we must contend. St. Jude writes in verse 3, “Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

During Confirmation, you make a vow before God that you will be faithful. That you will be a follower of Jesus Christ. You might not find yourself speaking before the public, you might not find yourself in the jungles of Panama, you might not find yourself in a foxhole in Iraq. It matters not, we are to serve the Lord where ever we are planted.

Prayer is very important in keeping that full court press on the devil. The Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, Bible study, we need people to realize that you are Soldiers under God’s Command.

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