ACTION ITEM! Navy chaplain’s vestments lost in the airplane crash – UPDATED


Since in 24 hours we completed our objectives and exceeded expectations, it’s time to close this down. However… go to the bottom and read my 7 May update for more.


I’ll add updates at the bottom, but this needs to be at the top. Here is a note from Fr. Johnson, with whom I spoke tonight after we hit the initial goal.

I don’t have the words to express the gratitude I feel for the deeply touching generosity of your readers who have donated so promptly and unselfishly to this undeserving priest. Naturally, I was feeling a bit less than one hundred percent after the shock and disruption of crash-landing into the river on that ill-fated plane trip. The frightening sensation of hurtling down the runway, only to feel the plane start to jolt and bounce, then nothing but water (illuminated menacingly by the lights on the wing) outside the little window before we came to a violent halt, all that was one thing. Then the hours of waiting and uncertainty, everyone cold and damp and still trying to take it all in, added to the shock. But then this fantastically kind and generous offer on your part and the beyond-amazing response of your good readers have lifted my spirits so much that I think I’ll have trouble falling asleep tonight! Thank you to everyone again and again! I will certainly remember you and your intentions in the Masses to follow. May God bless you all!

That was from Fr. Johnson.

This is from me.

God bless you good, good people.

Fr Z

You have heard about the airplane that miraculously, they are saying, managed to skid to relative safety in the shallow river at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station.   I had been on that same airplane – which I had blessed – just hours before from NAS JAX to NS Gitmo.

My friend, Fr. Charles Johnson, the Catholic chaplain was on this return flight that went into the drink.   He hit his head, but is otherwise fine.  I’ve written about him several times [HERE].

However, his bags with his travel vestments, were in the hold, which flooded with river water.  They are sure to be a total loss, especially after several days.   Blech.

And the plane – with the bags – is still in the water.

This is where you come in.

After I get back to the mainland from GITMO, I’ll be heading to Rome for business and pleasure.    I propose that we have reversible travel vestments made for Father to replace what he has lost.    I’ll get things worked out with Gammarelli for vestments like those which three of you readers bought for my own travel kit.


To participate in this good cause click


Last night I spoke with Fr. Johnson by phone to ask his permission to do this.  He was touched and excited by the offer.   Let’s do him proud!


Here is story with video about the airplane that Fr. Johnson was in – and I was in just before.



You people are amazing! It would be great if we could hit our goal before we have to hit the rack tonight. I’ll give Fr. Johnson a call!



I am unspeakably proud of you who made donations. I called the Rev. Commander Johnson and he is over the moon.

Surely we can keep going?

I’ll make sure that Father gets the names of all the folks who donated, though many have made anonymous donations. Earlier today, Father said that he’d be saying Masses for donors for a long time.

How far over the initial goal can we go?   I’m already thinking of a few things that need to be replaced at the GITMO chapel… very very worn.



Meanwhile, I have been in touch with Gammarelli in Rome about the travel vestments.   Because they also want to help Fr. Johnson, they have offered a 10% discount.

If I am able to buy the silk myself, and take it to Gammarelli, I could save about half the cost of each new chasuble and its attendant pieces.   That way I could get either more stuff or I can upgrade.   I’ll make the call once I get to Rome and shop around a little.

UPDATE 7 May 2019:

I received a snarky note from GoFundMe asking me to post how I know the person for whom I was raising the funds and what they were going to be used for… which I had explained clearly in my original post! Hence, I think I won’t work with GoFundMe any longer on this campaign, since we have hit and exceeded the original goal in roughly 24 hours. I will suspend this campaign.

It may be that some of you will be disappointed that you will not be able to participate. However, your goodness to Fr. Johnson is deeply appreciated. You can send additional donations through the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (TMSM) which is a 501(c)(3) organization. You can also avoid GoFundMe service fees by mailing a check to:

Tridentine Mass Society of Madison
733 Struck St.
P.O. Box 44603
Madison, WI 53744-4603

NB: Be sure to include a note that this is for replacing the things that Fr. Charles Johnson lost in the plane crash.

At the TMSM site there is also a PayPal button for convenience.

The funds raised from this campaign will be deposited with the TMSM, since we have had campaigns in the past. I’ll take care of everything either directly with Fr. Johnson and/or with Gammarelli, since I have a good working relationship with them. Fr. Johnson will be stuck at GITMO (where I am now, subbing for him) and I will be in Rome where the vestment action is.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, please don’t be too hasty in judging GoFundMe. Their organization has been used to raise funds for many, many legitimate causes. Remember the shooting death of the FSSP priest in Phoenix?

    The GoFundMe site was used to raise money fraudulantly in the past by evil-doers. Remember this? HERE

    Now, GoFundMe is trying to do their due diligence in preventing future scams by ensuring the money raised goes to the intended recipient who has a bona fide need!

  2. acardnal says:

    Addendum: Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, funding campaign results . HERE

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