The Catholic Defender: "In Coming, In Coming"
Wednesday October 03, 2007: Last night at the bible study we had an excellent group, our numbers are going to almost 30 regulars. Many of them are looking to be received into the Church. I'm kind of starting our last cycle before we have to head back home. I am so looking forward to getting back home, but while I'm here, it's going to be 100% to get our guys home. If I can help someone find the faith in the process, that is what I am about!
Thursday October 04, 2007: We have eleven days until we have more Baptisms and Confirmations, it is exciting as we have more considering these gifts of God even farther down the line. We are here until January and it will be an honest effort to go to the end. In a way, we have felt like a missionary or something. It certainly has been an opportunity to serve the Lord which is my higher purpose of being here. To God be all the glory! Thank you for allowing me to be a teammate of yours!!!
Friday October 05, 2007: I've been getting up to work out at 0430 every morning after I get a chance to speak with Gigi! You did great on the rosary, several people have learned how to pray it through the Rosary Patrol. (Speaking to a recent Convert who returns from leave) I was very happy that you were there and pleased to know that your coming back. I also can tell you that the Lord was happy that you were here as well!
Sunday October 07, 2007: Today, I went out to find a couple of readers as we are trying to get more people involved and so I went out to talk to people who might be interested to help. The very first person I spoke to was very interesting. I asked them if they were a good Catholic in good standing with the Church. He said, "not yet", that he was sent to find me. I was not expecting that so I asked him why he was wanting to find me. He told me that he was not baptized and wanted to be received into the Catholic Church. Wow, that was a surprise to me so I got his information and he will begin formation.
Monday October 15, 2007: We were hit a couple of days ago by mortar shells which killed two or three Soldiers and wounded almost 40. It was a very busy evening in all the TMC's here. Some of my Soldiers were driving near where the rounds began to hit and they barely escaped themselves. It was the worst event so far. I hope we do not have another like it. Nobody in our Battalion was hit, that was good, but to see this happen is sad. May the Lord watch over those lost in this attack and may His perpetual light shine upon them.
Wednesday October 17, 2007: I spoke to a new soldier today who just arrived in country and discovered he was Catholic but hadn't been to Mass in a long time, hasn't been to confession in 8 years. I had the chance to speak with him for about 30 minutes. I invited him here to Mass and the Rosary. He might come back to the faith!!! Please keep him in your prayers!!!
Friday October 19, 2007: I have lost another Medic today, a real good one. He was not wounded, thanks be to God, but his family back home is having great difficulty that requires his coming home. I ask that you pray for him and his family. As tough as it is to lose another Soldier, I place family first. So far I have lost 11 Soldiers and only had three replacements. That is why I personally have conducted over 100 combat missions myself as the Platoon Sergeant. Praise God that I've had nobody die, but I have lost a good number of good soldiers.
Saturday October 20, 2007: What a grace it is to teach young Soldiers how to pray the Rosary! Tonight there were about 12 of us praying the rosary, several for the first time. I've been promoting the rosary lately and I encourage all you to utilize the devotion as well. Please remember us when you do!!! God bless you all!
Sunday October 21, 2007: Another soldier who had been away from the Catholic Church for years returned home today! What a blessing it was to see! That is what makes this deployment almost a missionary trip. It has been that in so many ways! I was talking to him for some time and the Rosary Patrol has been praying for him.
Monday October 22, 2007: As of today we are well on our way to have conducted over 10,000 operations in medical support for our Battalion, Brigade, Division, and Army wide here in Iraq. I've said it before, but I am humbled how well my Soldiers have performed and maintained themselves during this deployment. What were once scrappy young teenagers any young adults are now men, seasoned vets and this is quickly becoming my most favorite Platoon of all time!!! Three of them have been received into the Catholic Church and Two more have returned to the faith. It's been a blessing.
Tuesday October 23, 2007: The Chaplains here to include the Priests will wear the ACU uniform at all times, nothing civilian worn here at all. I've been in ACU's for over a year now with the exception of my PT uniform. The civilian Catholic Priests in Baghdad and throughout Iraq are in critical danger. Just last week Pope Benedict XVI intervened for to Catholic Priests captured from the Green zone last week. I've not heard that they have been released or not. That is a great question and I ask you to join us and pray for them!! Thanks my brother!
Wednesday October 24, 2007: Even though time is moving forward, there continues to be Soldiers coming forward wanting to know how they can become Catholic. This has been a very humbling experience to have played such a part. May God be praised! I have another person wanting to join the Tiber Swim Team!!
Thursday October 25, 2007: Today's high is 95, but it feels cool since it is no longer 130. It does feel a lot cooler but it is still dangerous. I ensure that the medics have the Companies drink at least 4-6 bottles of water daily and more if you are wearing all the gear outside the wire. We are near the end of October, what a rush!!! The Rosary Patrol will meet today at 12:00 noon which is about 3-4 in the morning Central time (Texas Time). Any of you that are still up please join us!
Awesome Will, my brother, you know, when we send out patrols everyday, we face all kinds of threats. The IED is a terrible threat, they are sometimes hard to see and sometimes they get a hit. Sometimes we find large amounts of weapons that are hidden intended to be used against us. Our patrols aid us in keeping the enemy's where-bouts known and help provide security to those in the fort. The Rosary Patrol does something similar for Our Lady. We lift up our soldiers who go out in harms way, we pray for those who have abandoned the Catholic Faith, we pray for our loved ones, those who are sick, and for peace. We pray and dedicate our rosary each day for the needs of all present. I keep the intends of this board when I see it. I really like what we have started and hope it will foster people to pray it with renewed vigor. Mary's peace plan from Heaven as given at Fatima, we want to be servants of this plan!
Friday October 26, 2007: I met two fallen Catholics today that I was able to bring back to the faith, that was very exciting! I also spoke to an Iraqi who was just baptized Protestant the past couple of days. I thought she was a Muslim who became a Christian so I called out to her to congratulate her on her new faith. She quickly told me she was not a Muslim but a Catholic. I ended up talking to her for 40 minutes and I was able to give her a good run down on the Catholic Faith. I invited her to join us praying the rosary. She still had her rosary and some holy medals.
I received two much needed Medics today from Ft. Hood. We needed them badly. Both of them are culturally Catholic one of them needing Confirmation, the other needing baptism and confirmation. This should be interesting!!!!
Sunday October 28, 2007: Both of them are coming to Mass with us and have already participated in the Rosary Patrol! I believe that they will follow through and become Catholic. The prayer of the saints far exceeds anything we can imagine. Thank you all so much!
Some of you might remember the story of my former Battalion Chaplain who converted to the Catholic Faith. We served together in Korea and we supported each other while we were away from our families. He would call me later thanking me for leading him to the Catholic Church. Tonight I had the opportunity to speak with his son who told me, "I see, well in that case I'm glad you met him because you were part of me becoming Catholic too". That was real exciting news to hear and so I asked him how this is so. He responded, "yeah, after Dad came into the Church my Mom followed then myself, and my sister and her husband, then my daughter, a few aunts and uncles, we're just one big Catholic Family now"! We spoke a bit about Iraq and that I am on my way home in 80 some odd days now. This was great news!!!
Tuesday October 30, 2007: We were hit with some mortars tonight, nobody was hurt badly, Praise the Lord for His protection. I was about 70 meters from one of them and it rocked us. The first thing I did was run and check on casualties and ensured nobody was hurt. Then I made sure that we were 100% accounted for. I really believe everyone's prayers here are powerful and it's like we have a protective field. My wife sent her guardian angel to help me, she has been a huge support for me here. I can't wait until I have my feet on American soil.
Getting out at 05:00 in the morning to walk to the gym, it is now quite serene, you can hear the Muslims praying on their loud speakers reminding me of the movie "Black Hawk Down", kind of like a calm before the storm. It is the only opportunity for me to work out with one of my soldiers. We do not really do organized PT as a group. Especially us as we are all over the place following all kinds of missions throughout the day and night. So we do PT when we can. After I work out in the gym lifting weights, I go back to my room and do what I call "century PT", a hundred push-ups and setups. As I'm doing that I'm listening to the Altar Boys "You've Found Me" or Idle Cure"s "Frontine" and "Break Away" and that pumps me up. Last night at the bible study we showed the video "Lost Gospels or False Gospels" by Ignatius Press. It is a good video. I was able to talk about it after words as we had about 20 people there which is great with all the missions going on. Priest Defender was there as well as a couple of other board members. Over the course of time we have added a few board members here. Well, I felt compelled to share what it is like to wake up in this place. Thank God I get to speak with Gigi at 04:30 before I do anything else. That helps a lot! Please pray for Gigi, her knee still hurts her a great deal. She needs to have it rebuilt, a class 4 RPPS (Retro Patella Pain Syndrome) which is bone on bone with floaters and spurs. She want's to wait until I get home to have it done which is understandable, but I hate that she is suffering.
Wednesday October 31, 2007:Thank you so much Doug, my brother. These mortars hit without warning. Sometimes there is a loud speaker that sounds off an alarm "In Coming, In Coming", when you have experienced seeing and hearing a blast, it makes you duck into cover when you hear the alarm. Makes you certainly think about it.