Catholic U.S. Navy Chaplain Candidate Ordained Transitional Deacon in Savannah, GA The Rev. Mr. William C. Cook reaches next-to-last milestone in formational journey toward priesthood

From left to right: Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the Rev. Mr. William (Will) C. Cook, and Bishop Stephen D. Parkes of Savannah after the diaconal ordination of the Rev. Mr. Cook on May 29, 2021, in Savannah, GA.

SAVANNAH, GA – The Reverend Mr. William (Will) C. Cook, LTJG, USNR, a former active-duty U.S. Marine and a candidate for the Catholic priesthood and military chaplaincy, was ordained a transitional Deacon on Saturday, May 29, in Savannah, GA. The new deacon hopes eventually to serve as a Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Navy with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).

The Rev. Mr. Cook, 35, is taking part in the program for priestly formation at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. His diaconal ordination was celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Stephen D. Parkes, D.D. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Also concelebrating was Bishop Emeritus John Kevin Boland, D.D., of Savannah. Among those in attendance were the new deacon’s parents, a brother, and a number of close personal friends.

The Rev. Mr. Cook is a 2009 graduate of Oklahoma State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management Technologies. He completed four years of active-duty service in the U.S. Marines as an Air Support Control Officer, reaching the rank of Captain, before beginning his priestly formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, in 2015. He transferred to Notre Dame Seminary in 2020 and is scheduled to be ordained a priest next year.

The U.S. Navy chaplain candidate says he discovered his vocation after separating from active-duty military service. “I went on a mission trip after getting out of the military,” he said, “and it was the best year of my life, it really opened my eyes to a whole new reality.” Commenting on his diaconal ordination, he said, “I feel great! I’m looking forward to ministering and getting to know and care for the people of God. Seminary is great but I’m very ready to put to use all the information that I’ve been learning for the last six years!”

The eventual service of the Rev. Mr. Cook and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Navy, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, the Navy has only 45 priests on active duty, serving a large Catholic population of Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, spread worldwide.

Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. Military, can find more information at milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the AMS Vocations Office at vocations@milarch.org.

Gifts in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at milarch.org/donate.