Viatorians have served in the military for nearly a century, from the Spanish American War in 1898, to the Gulf War and Mid-East conflict in the 1990s. They have fought in the trenches and prayed with soldiers and sailors as chaplains, consequently Veterans Day holds a special place for the community.
They range from Fr. William Stephenson, who fought in the Spanish American War before serving in World War I as a chaplain, and Fr. Francis Moisant, who also served as World War I Army chaplain; to Fathers Patrick Flaherty and Stephen Mayer, who both served as chaplains during World War II.
Fr. Gene Lutz, CSV, was captured in 1941 at the Battle of Wake and he spent the rest of World War II as a prisoner of war. Within three years of his release, he entered the Viatorian Community, where he would inspire students and retreatants alike, the latter at Villa Desiderata in McHenry, IL.
spent two years as a chaplain in the Air Force, near the end of World War II, ultimately earning the rank of captain. He drew on his background in psychology in counseling airmen, and his leadership experience would serve him well. Nearly 15 years later, he was named provincial of the Chicago Province.
More recently, Fr. Victor Bertrand served 25 years as a Navy chaplain from 1971 to
1996, achieving the rank of Commander. Among his many assignments was serving on board of the aircraft carrier, the USS Midway in Japan, where he was responsible for taking care of about 5,800 sailors and Marines.
Fr. Bertrand also served as Command Chaplain for NATO, in Rome, where among his duties was introducing military dignitaries to Pope John Paul II, a job he cherished.
Fr. Dan Hall served during the latter half of Fr. Bertrand’s career, as a Marine chaplain from 1990 to 1997. His assignments included serving with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California and with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Fr. Hall aslo served for one year at the U.S. Naval Support Facility in Diego Garcia, which played a vital role during both Gulf Wars. He now serves as Provincial of the Chicago Province, after a 14-year career as a teacher and coach at Saint Viator High School, where his military experience never fails to inspire his students.