WWII Chaplain saying Mass as the armor rolls in

One of our alert readers sent me the link to some spiffy footage from WWII.

A Catholic Mass being conducted by a Chaplain in Makin Islands, Kirabati during World War II.

I would still very much like to find someone to make super-light reversible vestments.

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  1. Titus says:

    Did chaplains in forward zones like that have permission to just collapse everything to white or black, or would he have green/red and purple ones stashed somewhere too?

  2. acardnal says:

    Thank God for military chaplains who serve on the front lines.

  3. New Sister says:

    What a beautiful sight. I tried to ID the left shoulder patch but can’t make out which unit this would be. They had been at it a while, evidenced by the long hair. The server must have been suffering a left knee injury yet was still driving on – bless him. Bless all of them, probably none of whom are with us anymore ~ requiescant in pace.

  4. Reconverted Idiot says:

    Moved me to tears.

  5. mburn16 says:

    Battle of Makin was fought Nov. 20-23, 1943. The 21st was a Sunday, but this doesn’t look to be in the heat of battle, so I’m guessing this would have been the 28th. Can’t explain the white vestments though, unless they did indeed only keep two colors. Wiki says these men would have belonged to the 27th infantry.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. Packrraat says:

    Very moving to see this.

  7. juergensen says:

    I can’t envision the iPhone generation winning that war … no way.

  8. Siculum says:

    I’d have liked to have that Jeep, on whose hood Holy Mass was have been offered.

  9. Gaetano says:

    If that is Makin Island and they are wearing a 27thID patch, then that is the “Fighting” 69th New York (then known as the 165th Infantry/165th RCT). Makin was the first island taken by the U.S. Army in the Pacific, and occurred at the same time the Marines took Tarawa.
    I can’t tell which chaplain it is, but they had a Redemptorist chaplain at Saipan who was killed by a Japanese shell while ministering to a fallen soldier. His helmet, with the large hole where the shell fragment hit, is on display at the regimental armory in New York City.
    It is the same regiment that the famed Fr. Duffy served with in WWI, and formed the first regiment of the renowned Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.

  10. Gaetano says:

    James Cagney and a host of other famous Irish-American actors made a great movie, The Fighting 69th, about the regiment in World War I.
    In WWII, the regiment was still largely Irish, but they had several Italian Americans and others. The only member of the 69th NY to receive the Medal of Honor in WWII was Alejandro Ruiz, a Mexican-American.

  11. Alan22 says:

    I don’t know why I found that clip so moving – perhaps it was the fact that the Eternal Sacrifice was being offered while, all around, preparations were being made for an offensive.

    One or two people have commented on the colour of the vestments. In my days as a clergyman in the Church of England, we had a chasuble which had come to the parish (indirectly) from a priest who served as a military chaplain in the First World War.

    As in the video clip, it was reversible. One side was black, the other was of cloth of gold which could replace all other liturgical colours apart from black. There were two small holes in the front of the chasuble, to enable the tapes to be passed through. These tapes were obviously loose and each ended in a kind of padded button which was embroidered. In this way, the buttons would be seen by the congregation as an ornament on the front of the chasuble.

    Sadly, the chasuble had been discarded as being of the wrong (i.e. Roman) shape and I found it rolled up in a drawer in the sacristy. The local branch of the Royal British Legion paid for its restoration when I told them of its provenance and I wore it every year for the Solemn Requiem on Armistice Sunday. I wish now I had found a way to bring it with me when I became a Catholic.

  12. Sonshine135 says:

    Everyone please pray for vocations and offer yourself up. The Military Archdiocese has requests for 850 Priests right now. Currently, there are only around 200 Priests for all of our men and women in uniform. The Knights of Columbus just this past week fulfilled their end of a 5 year campaign for a million dollar scholarship fund for the military services (1 year early I might add), but money is just the first step. The men are needed! God bless these brave Chaplains.

  13. MacBride says:


    What color vestment? I would think Gold and Purple would be the most useful? You can contact me privately.

    BTW, awesome video. I will have to show my husband a use for a Jeep he probably newer thought of.

  14. Rob in Maine says:

    (to paraphrase…)
    Nyyyyyah! You Father wore Army Boots!

  15. greasemonkey says:

    Have that chasuble & stole…. exact.

  16. OK_doc says:

    I had to share this with my husband, a Vietnam vet, who has told me in the past that the most moving Mass he ever attended was celebrated on the hood of a Jeep standing in the middle of a rice paddy.
    God bless the priests who risk their lives to bring Mass to our military men and women in difficult situations.

  17. JBS says:

    He does not appear to make a cross when administering Holy Communion. Is this just a matter of custom?

  18. Dutchman says:


    This one is awesome. Mass before landing on Iwo Jima. Notice how the ship sways. God bless our chaplains!

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