Christmas Mass for those Deployed to Iraq

Catholic servicemen and women currently deployed to Iraq will be able to attend Christmas Mass this year, thanks to the U.S. Navy and a priest chaplain who volunteered. Father Christopher S. Fronk, S.J., Command Chaplain aboard the Nimitz class aircraft supercarrier USS George H W Bush CVN 77, requested and received orders to go to the war zone for Christmas while his ship is sidelined to the shipyard for maintenance.

“Since the ship is in the yards,” Father Fronk explained, “there will not be many people at all on board for Christmas and I thought that my services as a priest could be better utilized elsewhere.”

Approximately 3,500 U.S. Military personnel are now deployed to Iraq, nearly 1,000 of whom are Catholic, but at present, no Catholic chaplain is assigned there. So the faithful in boots were facing Christmas without Holy Mass or access to the sacraments. The Navy’s approval of Father Fronk’s request changed all that.