NCRegister about D-Day Catholic chaplains

It’s the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

The National Catholic Register has an article about Catholic chaplains in the conflict.

The whole article is great.  Here, however, is an interesting bit about a priest:


Among the massive carnage of D-Day, the only U.S. military chaplain killed in action was a Catholic priest, Franciscan Father Ignatius Maternowski. The 32-year-old friar parachuted in with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Dorsett recalled descriptions of the priest that he heard from those who served with him. “One man said he was a tough energetic Pole, and he was extremely liked by men of his regiment,” he previously told the Register. “He was a man’s man. Chaplains didn’t have to get into the front lines where there was combat, but these guys refused to stay back. They would go up to the front.”

He “didn’t find it amusing when men were telling filthy jokes, speaking crudely, or taking the Lord’s name in vain. More than one time he would say ‘Put on boxing gloves’ to anyone who made remarks about the Church or confession.”


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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The priests I remember in Vietnam and elsewhere would do and say the same things as Fr. Maternowski. Most were Irish and stood ready to defend the Faith.
    I will think of them always, especially Fr. Logue (may he rest in peace), for being there when I (and we) needed him.

  2. Andreas says:

    Many thanks for this, Father Z. An interesting video about Father Maternowski can be seen at: .
    May God bless all of our Catholic Chaplains, including you, Father Z., who have been the beloved shepherds for those of us active duty and retired military.

  3. Since the Civil War, five chaplains have won the Congressional Medal of Honor: one in World War II, one in the Korean War, and three in Vietnam. All have been Catholic priests. Two — Fr. Emil Kapaun (Korean War) and Fr. Vincent Capodanno (Vietnam) have causes for sainthood.

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    Years ago I recall that as a young priest, Fr. Hannan, who eventually became the Archbishop of New Orleans, was an Army Chaplain during WWII, and parachuted from airplanes at Normandy. (Sidebar- the USAF did not exist until 1947 – the Army had the Army Air Corps, which eventually became the USAF).

    Rocco Palmo had a good story about Fr. DiSimone, who entered seminary upon his return from WWII, who was on the ground at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Actually, after 1945 and through the mid 1950s, many unmarried Catholic men who served in combat situations during WWII and Korea entered formation not long after returning from the war. The military gave them life skills, taught them fraternity, and the fact that there are no atheists in foxholes.

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