On Feb. 3, 1943, the Dorchester was torpedoed in the waters of the North Atlantic. As the ship began to sink, the chain of command broke down. The Four Chaplains – Father John Washington, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reverends George Fox and Clark Poling – began to distribute life vests to those on board.
The life vests soon ran out and the chaplains, realizing their fate and abandoning themselves to the will of God, made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life vests to four others on the ship. Survivors recall seeing the chaplains, arms linked and praying on the deck, as the Dorchester slipped into the North Atlantic.
This year, on March 15, St. Stephen’s Parish, in a continuing commitment to keep the legacy of the Four Chaplains alive, welcomed from Mt. Vernon Washington, Cady and Benjamin Crosby, co-founders of 3G a non-profit organization that encourages us to: Give what you have, Give more than you take and Give it your all. Cady and Benjamin presented a living history of the Four Immortal Chaplains.
The emotional story was told through the fictional voices of a military survivor of the sinking of the Dorchester and Rosalie Goode, daughter of Rabbi Goode, portrayed by Benjamin and Cady. In attendance were relatives of two of the Immortal Chaplains, Joann Hoffman, niece of The Rev. John P. Washington and her sons Brian and James and members of their families, and Mark Auerbach cousin of Rabbi Alexander Goode. Also in attendance were the Rev. Joseph Mancini, Pastor of St. Stephens, Louis Cavaliere, Captain, U.S. Navy Retired Chairman of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation in Philadelphia and Christine Beady, Executive Director. Kearny Cub Scout Troop 305 was in attendance proudly wearing their neckerchiefs adorned with a patch depicting the Four Chaplains. Members of the parish represented St. Stephen’s. For more information about the Four Chaplains view www.Fourchaplains.org or www.thechurchofsaintstephen.com.
– Nancy Waller