Loading
Brave Catholic Army chaplain dies from injuries suffered in Iraq
Fr. Timothy Vakoc, U.S. Army chaplain
Fr. Timothy Vakoc, U.S. Army chaplain

.- U.S. Army chaplain Fr. Tim Vakoc, who was severely injured five years ago by a roadside bomb in Iraq while returning from saying Mass with troops in Mosul, died on Sunday at the age of 49.

The attack destroyed his eye and caused severe brain damage, according to his CaringBridge website. He was hospitalized for four months at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and in October 2004 was transferred in a near coma state to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis.

After many surgeries and infections, he gradually began to recognize friends and family again. He also began to communicate through squeezing his hand or slightly smiling. In the fall of 2006 he spoke for the first time since his injury.

A native of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Fr. Vakoc served as a parish priest before becoming an Army chaplain in 1996. He also served in Germany and Bosnia, eventually attaining the rank of Major.

Before his injury, in a letter to his sister Fr. Vakoc said “The safest place for me to be is in the center of God’s will, and if that is in the line of fire, that is where I will be.”

One of the chaplain’s superior officers, Lt. Col. Dennis Thompson of the 296th Brigade Support Battalion stationed in Mosul, told the National Catholic Register that the priest’s death in the line of service showed that he “never let the dangers of our battlefield prevent him from serving.”

He reported that Fr. Vakoc’s attempts to provide Mass to all the soldiers in the Stryker Brigade were difficult as its soldiers were spread across an area “the size of Connecticut” and in hostile territory. “None of this prevented Father Tim from being there for the soldier,” Lt. Col. Thompson told the National Catholic Register.

Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis John Nienstedt addressed Fr. Vakoc’s death in a statement, saying: “A man of peace, he chose to endure the horror of war in order to bring the peace of Christ to America’s fighting men and women.”

According to an announcement on CaringBridge.org, Fr. Vakoc’s funeral Mass will be celebrated on June 26 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: