Veteran’s Day, Joyce Kilmer and Catholicism | Columbia Catholic Ministry #10

By | September 8, 2019

Scott Shannon (Narrator): Welcome to Columbia
Catholic Ministry. Now, here’s your weekly update from Father Dan O’Reilly. Father Daniel O’Reilly: Every November, we
commemorate Veterans’ Day. A day to honor those who serve our country in the military,
and those who have served our country in the past. We give thanks for their sacrifices
and their service. We pray for them and their families. And we pray for all of those who
defend freedom throughout the world. Here at Columbia, we can remember one particular
veteran. One who graduated from our college. His name was Joyce Kilmer. Born in New Brunswick,
New Jersey as an Episcopalian, Joyce Kilmer eventually studied at Columbia, and graduated
in 1908. He got married, and began teaching and actually writing for a number of publications,
including the New York Times. He had a young daughter though, who became very, very sick.
And on his way to work in Manhattan, he stopped almost every day at the Church of the Holy
Innocence, a Catholic church. And during his prayer time there, his heart was awakened
to a call to the Catholic Church. So, he and his wife both became Catholics in 1913. In
1917, he enlisted in the famous Fighting 69th regiment, here in New York. And when he was
sent abroad to France, he worked tirelessly to defend his brothers and sisters, giving
a great example of valor. Eventually, he was shot and killed by a sniper in 1918 at the
young age of 31. Joyce Kilmer was a brilliant example of a faithful solider, of a faithful
christian, and a man dedicated to serving freedom. Joyce Kilmer, though, understood
that life was not going to be easy. And among his poems, my favorite of all is one called
“Thanksgiving.” It’s one that you wouldn’t expect. Most people give thanks for beautiful
and joyful things. Joyce Kilmer, though, understood the cross, he understood sacrifice, and he
understood the true meaning of thanksgiving. It goes: The roar of the world is in my ears.
Thank God for the roar of the world! Thank God for the mighty tide of fears
Against me always hurled! Thank God for the bitter and ceaseless strife,
And the sting of His chastening rod! Thank God for the stress and the pain of life,
And Oh, thank God for God!

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