Thursday, July 27, 2017

Spiritual Life On a Battleship

Yesterday, I visited the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier which participated in several of the Pacific campaigns of World War II, and was recommissioned after the war as an attack carrier and anti-submarine carrier, until she was decommissioned in 1974. The ship is now a museum permanently docked off Manhattan in the Hudson river, and boasts among its many interesting exhibits the Space Shuttle Enterprise, which is in a large hangar purpose-built on the flight deck. Here is a photo of a daily schedule posted on the bridge; unfortunately, the date is not given. (Click to enlarge.)

Three Catholic Masses are celebrated, one on the largest part of the ship, the hangar deck, at 7 am, another at 9 am, and another at 4:45 pm. There is also Rosary and Benediction at 7:30 pm. A general Protestant morning prayer service is held at 8 am, and another at 10 am.

Update: Thanks to Fr David Paternostro SJ for noting in the combox that the serviceman for whom the Mass at 9 is being celebrated, one Lt Vaughn, was killed in January 1944, and the XO who signed this schedule held that position in the same period. The schedule would therefore be from that year, right in the middle of the war itself. This would indicate that some kind of indult for afternoon Masses was granted to the military in wartime, long before general permission was granted.
The museum also displays this certificate of membership in the Order of Magellan granted to Mons. Paul Bradley, the ship’s chaplain, for having circumnavigated the globe. During WW2, Mons. Bradley was the chaplain of the Marine regiment that raised the American flag on Iwo Jima.
Some interesting statistical information on the ship, whose crew at full compliment numbered 3,348. It was essentially a small floating city, and what is a city without a church?

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