Detroit Stories Episode 63: ‘Serving Those Who Serve’ (PODCAST)

Navy and Marine Corps veterans discuss the indispensable role of their chaplain — and why military priests are desperately needed

(0:03) Canton native Deacon Matthew Kurt, a seminarian studying for the priesthood at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, plans to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. military once he’s ordained. He describes his formation on military bases and why he’s pursuing a ministry among America’s front-line soldiers — a ministry desperately in need of priests.

(5:04) Lt. Col. Michael Murray describes a memorable encounter with his chaplain, Msgr. Tim Hogan, while deployed in Iraq. He was about to be sent out on a mission with a high degree of danger, and needed confession.

(11:20) Msgr. Hogan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and former U.S. Navy chaplain, relays his vocation story — a story that started at a high school graduation party. Unlike Deacon Kurt’s, Msgr. Hogan’s story started with the military, and continued when he discovered a calling to the priesthood later as an enlisted officer.

(14:12) In 1985, the Archdiocese for the Military Services invites Msgr. Hogan to consider becoming a military chaplain. He describes the high stakes of chaplaincy, and the day-to-day role of a spiritual father to soldiers in harm’s way.

(21:03) Captain Julie Liotta, a former combat engineer officer with the Marine Corps for 2003-07, describes her encounter with Msgr. Hogan, who was overseeing the rebuilding of a chapel on base in Iraq that was damaged by incoming fire.

(26:59) Liotta describes the lasting impact Msgr. Hogan had on her faith. She and Murray describe the great need for military chaplains — especially Catholic chaplains — considering a drastic shortage of those ministering to soldiers whose lives are on the line. Msgr. Hogan recounts a story of a conversation with a Marine who said he hadn’t seen a priest in nine months of deployment.

(34:20) Liotta and Murray talk about how much of a difference chaplains make for the men and women in uniform, and put the shortage of chaplains into perspective.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; narration by Fr. Craig Giera; script by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

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