The Catholic Defender Continues Missions in Iraq
Monday April 13, 2009: It's already mid-month April, this time next year I should be home celebrating the Easter Season with my family. This will mark 25 years in the Army. I've been a lot of places, seen a lot of things, I have been truly blessed for the countless opportunities to share the Faith with people. I'll probably ride out 1 more year before I hang up the boots for the last time. That year I plan on using to get myself integrated back in civilian life. Maybe I could join Tim Staples or someone as an apologist? We will see what is in store. God bless you all!
Tuesday April 14, 2009: Tonight I showed part 2 of Moses "Salvation from Slavery" from the Footprints of God series. Our numbers are growing and I know I would have a lot more if it were not for all the missions! I always tell them "mission comes first". I just want to get them to want to come when they can.
Thursday April 16, 2009: I have to tell you, Last night we had a CLIP (supply trucks bringing washed clothes, supplies) that usually run almost until 02:00 in the morning. We have all hands on deck putting everything where it goes. This morning I was ready to tap out when the alarm clock went off at 04:45. That is when I get up to pray the Rosary with my night shift. They came and got me so I was able to muster some energy and get up. I certainly know that scripture where it says, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". The good thing is that they are now hooked into praying the Rosary and look forward in doing it.
Friday April 17, 2009: This coming Sunday is Divine Mission Sunday! I plan to do the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the 3:00 hour. I know that is before most of you get up for the day, but that is OK, 3:00 will catch up to you!!! Have you ever felt a calm before the storm, I have an uneasiness about this place. We can't get suckered into thinking it is safe. The past two days we have been attacked, fortunately no one was hurt. Please keep up the prayers!!!
This is an update on the Soldier who has been away from the Church for 5 years. He has been coming to the Rosary, he's part of the Rosary Patrol and he plans to see Father when he returns in a couple of weeks. He came to last Sundays Liturgy of the Word and enjoyed it. I can hear angels singing in heaven tonight!!!
Saturday April 18, 2009: We got stuck in the mud and we were out side the wire with civilians gathering. What you do not see is across the street people are gathering. I noticed immediately a black kite went up and went down in about 15 minutes. Small things like that are means of alerting those bent on attacking us. On this occasion it went well with no problems. We were able to pull it out using a couple more of those MRAPs, that is what those vehicles are called. When you see towels put out tossing them in the air and Kites in the air, that is not a good sign.
Monday April 20, 2009: I've been conducting inventory of all our unit's property book and sensitive items. If anyone out there has been in the military, you can understand what that is. I have had to hitch hike across our sector going to all our places to find all the equipment. It's been an endeavor!
This past Sunday we celebrated the Second Sunday of Easter which was also Divine Mercy Sunday. We still had a good group for the occasion. I was able to report 30 Rosaries were prayed for the last week. The Chaplain send all the numbers up to BDE who there by sends it up to Division. We will have a Priest for Mass on 24 April and I certainly hope to get there as I couldn't make the Good Friday Mass.
Tuesday April 21, 2009: One more day and my time with inventory will be finished!!! It has been a drag! I should be able to get into my own bed tonight, might be 02:00 in the morning, but at least I'll be back to JSS Sadr City. I have two more Soldiers that are requesting to become Catholic so I am preparing to get them enrolled in the Rosary Patrol. They are in Taji, so much of it will be through the email. Tonight, I wasn't able to conduct the Bible Study but I left the DVD, Moses" and we are on the third week "Not by Bread Alone" and with that I left "The Lamb's Supper" by Scott Hahn. It will be like having a guest speaker for the group.
Tonight I spoke with a Soldier who told me he believed in Jesus and I asked him what denomination he belonged to. He didn't have one, he had been in jail and accepted Christ there. I used the opportunity to invite him to discover the Church Christ built and that struck a chord with him. Gigi is sending the CCC's in the mail, I think there are 10 of them coming. I might need more of them!!! Last deployment I gave out 50 of them. I wrote a hand written note in each of them for all my students something like this: May God continue to shower you with His grace as you continue to learn our glorious Faith here in the land of Abraham, the Catholic Defender.
Wednesday Apr 22, 2009: This morning I was in the Battalion Aid Station when Soldier came in looking to do a physical. I was able to chat with him briefly as he is interested in politics and American history. I told him that I also have that interest as well as Church history. He said he was very aware of my interest in Church history as he told me he had heard me speak with other Soldiers and I touched his heart and got him interested in the Catholic Faith. This was something I was not tracking and so this was news to me. That meant a lot to me because I have always felt it is important to be aware of on lookers and those listening in the conversations. You never know when you strike a chord!!!
I want to make a quick public thank you to Peter who sent me several boxes of items that Soldiers can have. Some of these are specific with "Soldiers Angels" like coffee mugs (coffee is a hot item here) and the Otter Pops! I have been giving those out to Soldiers coming in the Battalion Aid Station. They all seem to enjoy those a lot! We are doing our best not to eat them all up ourselves!!!! Our First Sergeant has given us an area specific to put these items out to the Soldiers and he seemed very pleased that I was getting this kind of support from the Catholic Board! I know the Chaplain is as well. Most importantly the Lord is pleased!!! I am thankful!!! This Oct 13 I plan to show the Movie "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" on a large outdoor screen open for all the Soldiers on the JSS. Every so often they have "movie night" that they have and I think I want to call for that night. I do not have a calendar off hand but I would like to show this on Oct 13!
Thursday April 23, 2009: It is official, I will show the Movie, "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" on October 13th here, Sadr City Iraq, on a large beaded white outdoor screen. I will have opportunity to give account of what took place there in 1917.
The Showing of the movie, "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" will be outdoors on a huge screen. We have a small JSS but by that time we will have over 500 Soldiers including about 100 Iraqi Soldiers. Of that, who knows. I will advertise it and I hope to have a good crowd on hand. It should be a popcorn night! That is cool about the high school helping out, those items were gone within an hour and I heard nothing but good things from those who saw it. I took a picture of the items before anyone took anything with a couple of Rosary Patrol staffers. I'll post that in the morning (hopefully) and you might want to send that post to them as well.
Friday April 24, 2009: Today is a glorious day as one of the Rosary Patrol has been received back into the Catholic Church!!! He was able to go to Confession for the first time in 5 years and receive the Eucharist! The Angels are singing tonight!!! A special thanks to Lisa for the info on examination of conscience! I was able to get that to him earlier in the day!!!
Last night I played the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" as I have a new Soldier working in the Aid Station. He was one of my line Medics who broke his foot and had a cast put on. I stayed up until almost 2:00 this morning but it was worth it. I got up at 5:00 for the Rosary and this Soldier was present. Please pray for him as he was raised Protestant and his wife is a fallen Catholic. He's a great guy and what a miracle this would be!!! Again, thanks to Lisa for supplying the movie!!!
Saturday April 25, 2009: The last two days I've had Soldiers come to me to ask about becoming Catholic!!! One of them prayed their first rosary today! A new member of the Rosary Patrol! He was Baptized as a Baby but that is all he knows so he will join my list for the Easter Vigil 2010 Mass! The other one has a marriage issue he will have to resolve. He want's to marry a Catholic but he is divorced. He was raised Methodist but he is now more non-denominational. I talked to him for a while and told him what he needs to do. First thing is to decide if he want's to be Catholic!
Today, I had encourage this young Soldier, maybe 19 or 20 years old, to join us for the rosary. We pray it at the Chaplains office at noon everyday. I'll show up there and wait a few minutes and if nobody shows up then I go a head and leave. Today, nobody showed up after about 10 minutes so I decided to get lunch. Remember, I had already prayed with a group at 05:00 in the morning. I was in the Aid Station, didn't yet have a bite when this Soldier came into the Aid Station. He was late but wanted to do the Rosary. I didn't hesitate, we went and prayed the rosary. This was his first one ever. He liked it so well, he will be back tomorrow as we will talk about the Easter Vigil 2010!!!
We had the chance to go to Mass Last night and that was great for several reason!!! The big reason was one of our Soldiers reconciled with the Church! Another reason was that I got the chance to be there!!! I had missed the last one so it was about 4 weeks since I was able to go to Mass! All is well!!! Gigi, I received your box with all the Daniel Boone in it!!! That is great! It is getting hot here, anyone out there taking Supplements! Be careful out there as that can dehydrate you. We have a lot of Soldiers on supplements and that can be a large concern here where it can get 120 in the shade here.