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Civitan invites area clergy to breakfast

February 2, 2008
Messenger News
In observance of Clergy Appreciation Week, area clergy have been invited to a breakfast in their honor by the Fort Dodge Civitan Club.

The breakfast will be at 7 a.m. Wednesday at the Hickory House Restaurant. Allen Redenius will talk about his trip to Bethlehem last fall.

Clergy Week is a time to promote world brotherhood and religious understanding among all people, regardless of religious persuasion, said Civitan Club president Nancy Leo. “It is a time when we can reflect upon our individual religious beliefs and promote an understanding and acceptance of the rights of others to participate in a religion different from our own. “

On Feb. 3, 1943, the USS Dorchester carried four men of God — one a Catholic, one Jewish and two Protestant — and 905 American servicemen bound for Greenland. A Nazi submarine, stalking the ship undetected, fired a torpedo at the ship. It struck amid ships and exploded in the boiler room. Many on board died instantly; some were trapped below deck. The ship, taking on water rapidly, listed to starboard.

Because security prevented use of distress flares, the escort vessels that still were close enough to help, pushed ahead in the darkness, unaware that the Dorchester was sinking. Overcrowded lifeboats capsized; rafts drifted away before anyone could reach them.

On deck, the four Army chaplains — George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington — moved about calming frightened men, directing soldiers to lifeboats and distributing life jackets. Soon the supply of jackets was exhausted, yet four young soldiers were still without vests. The chaplains stripped off their own and forced them on the young soldiers. The chaplains went down with the ship.

Because of this heroism, Civitan International, located in Birmingham, Alabama, has declared the week of Feb. 3-9 as International Clergy Appreciation week and urges all citizens to thank their clergy for the work they do.

The local Civitan club meets weekly for informational programs at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at Hickory House. Information is available from Leo at 576 4249.



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