Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

Fr. Michael Dalton, the most decorated Catholic military chaplain in Canadian history, enters into eternal life at 106.

I'm speaking about an old friend, Rev. Mike Dalton, who passed away Monday afternoon at Sacred Heart Nursing Home in Courtland, Ont. He was 106, a month shy of his 107th birthday.

This son of a Goderich farmer is the most decorated padre who ever served in the Canadian Army. He marched at the front lines with his fellow soldiers, often carrying their weapons when they tired of battle.

Besides the Military Cross for bravery, Father Dalton was the first Catholic priest to receive the Member of the British Empire. The day King George VI pinned the decoration on his tunic at Buckingham Palace, he dug deep into his pockets and handed the monarch a Catholic religious medal.

Fr. Michael Barber SJ is the director of spiritual life at St. Patrick's. He's also a Navy Chaplain who ministers to the Marines when he is on deployment. St. Patrick's recently hosted a military discernment weekend for young men who were discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and to seminarians who were thinking about becoming military chaplains. Fr. Barber is going on a well deserved sabbatical next year and he will be keenly missed.

All of us are on break for Holy Week. Those of us seminarians who are staying in the Sacramento area will be serving at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for Triduum and Easter. I, a most unworthy sinner, will be participating in the Easter Vigil and the 11 am Easter Sunday Mass. Check thou it out! Especially if you've never visited our splendid Cathedral before! May you all have a blessed and holy Triduum - the fulcrum of the liturgical year as the Holy Father recently described it - and Easter season.

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