In 1939, at the outbreak of WWII and seven years after having been ordained to the priesthood, Rev. Michael Joseph Dalton (May 5, 1902 - April 6, 2009) volunteered to join the Essex Scottish Regiment of the Canadian Army.

Although he could have avoided front line service due to his age and position, he insisted that it was his duty to serve. Father Mike saw active duty in England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

Father Mike was known to work on the front lines of military combat and often marched with his men, carrying their weapons when they grew fatigued. He was known to drive his jeep, often against orders, to the front lines of combat in order to hear confessions

Saying Mass until his death - just one month shy of his 107th birthday - Father Mike was believed to have been the oldest Catholic priest in Canada and Canada's oldest surviving serviceman from World War II. Father Mike kept a war diary documenting his service during the years 1939-1946. In 1979 he donated it to the National Archives of Canada.

Please join me as I transcribe his writings online.

Sunday, March 8, 1942

Easter Duty Communion.
All companies parade to St. Thomas Church - St. Leonards for Mass and Communion.  About 120 Essex Scots attend.  About half went to Communion.  Two priests hear confessions during Mass.  Father O’Donahue preaches on confession.  “Fools who came to scoff, remained to pray.”  - Holy Name Pledge repeated.

Tea and cakes served by ladies.  Pamphlets distributed, such as Atlantic Charter and God and the War.

Many a  Prodigal Son made a home run on this historic day.  Many a lost sheep strayed into the confessional.  “RCs” in every platoon helped to get them out.  At the end of a perfect day the Padre breaths a fervent “Deo Gratias.”

No comments:

Post a Comment