In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, 2015, here is a brief look at the lives of a few Maryknollers that have proudly served in this country’s armed forces. As we recognize these seven Maryknollers, we would also like to thank all of the men and women who have served/are serving in the military.

Father Joseph McGahren  – “Serving one’s country is a good preparation for serving God in whatever vocation you aspire to.”

Joe was born in New York City and was ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1951. He was assigned to Maryknoll’s mission region in Japan where he served until 1960. In April of that same year he entered the Air Force at the Chaplain School at Lackland Air Force Base. He served as an Air Force Chaplain throughout the world for 25 years. After completing his years of service with the Air Force, Fr. McGahren continued mission work in Japan and the United States.

Father Wayne Weinlader – “It was a combination of people, events and experiences in the Service that moved me toward my vocation. Loneliness is a common reality servicepeople feel. In loneliness we turn to caring people. We turn to God.”

Wayne served in the United States Marines for four years before entering the seminary from his parent’s farm near Chebanse, Illinois. After ordination, he served in the Maryknoll mission region in Peru. In 1980, he entered the Navy as a Chaplain and served aboard ship as a pastor and counselor. Fr. Wayne would later continue his mission work in Bolivia and the United States.

Father Raymond Hill – “The call of the Lord to be His disciple and His missionary is still what puts it all together for me.”

Ray was born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York. During World War II, Ray entered the Army Air Corps before it became the U.S. Air Force and served 2 1/2 years in Hawaii and Okinawa. After his discharge from the Service, he entered Maryknoll and was ordained a priest in June of 1957. After ordination he was assigned to Maryknoll’s mission region in Chile. In 1972, Ray was elected Superior General of Maryknoll and served in that office until 1978. He then took up a new work in Nepal. As his mission work continued, Ray began vocation work within the United States until his death in 1991. [Bio]

Father Jack Corcoran – “If you have the desire to serve the poor abroad, Maryknoll can be your opportunity.”

Jack was a native of Newport, Rhode Island, and served in the Navy for four years before entering Maryknoll. His tour of duty took him to the Bahamas and Lesser Antilles. His involvement with the poor of these islands influenced him greatly in his vocation. After the Service, he entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1963. From that time on he served in Maryknoll’s mission in Korea, where he was eventually elected Regional Superior. In 1980 he was appointed Rector of the major seminary in New York.  In 1984, he was elected to the Society’s General Council, which he served on until 1990.  He then continued his mission work in Nepal and the United States until his death in 2010. [Bio]

Father Joe La Mar – “Getting in touch with your indwelling God will guide you to your call, but not without persecution and pain. Be strong enough to face it and grow with it.”

After a twenty-year career as an officer in the United States Air Force, Joe entered Maryknoll. During his military service, Joe traveled far and wide throughout the world. About his experiences, Joe says, “My missionary vocation was hinted at during my adolescence and was well nurtured during my travels while in the Air Force. The wonderful supporting communities that were mine to enjoy in the Air Force had a great deal to do with my formation to the priesthood and to the spiritual life.” After ordination in 1983, Joe served in Guatemala for many years before returning to the United States to continue his mission work.

Brother Justin Joyce – “God made us to be happy with Him. He guides us along the road to happiness if we allow Him to do so. Don’t be afraid to let Him guide you.” 

Justin was born and raised in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He joined the Navy and served for three years while his tour took him to Oran, Algeria and North Africa. He recalls that during his days in the Navy “it was the custom to give the scraps left over from our lunch to the Arab workmen. To me, this was degrading for them. Why do we have so much and they so little? I wanted to share, but it had to be from the bulk and not from the leftovers. Later, Maryknoll seemed to offer the opportunity to share with all people.” Justin entered Maryknoll in 1950 and served in Korea as a Brother for 30 years. He then would continued his mission work in the Kenya, Korea, and United States until his death in 2002. [Bio]

Father Vincent Capodanno – “He encouraged the men of all faiths to do more for their God…” [Patrick R. Moran recalling Fr. Capodanno]

Vince was born in 1929 in Staten Island, New York. The son of an Italian immigrant (one of ten children) he graduated from Curtis High School in 1947, attended Fordham University for a year, and entered Maryknoll in 1949. On June 14, 1958 he was ordained a Maryknoll priest. His initial assignment was to Maryknoll’s mission in Taiwan where he served for six years. When the Vietnam conflict began to heat up, he became a Navy chaplain and was assigned to the U.S. Marines. Lt. Vincent Capodanno was sent to the Vietnam in April of 1966 and soon became known as the “enlisted men’s chaplain”. On Labor Day, September 4, 1967, while caring for his “grunts” Father Capodanno was killed. On January 7, 1969 the secretary of the Navy, acting for the President of the United States, awarded, posthumously to Lt. Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M. the nation’s highest military honor, the Congretional Medal of Honor. The military ordinance is in charge of Father Vincent Capodanno’s cause for canonization. [Bio]

To find out more information regarding the cause, please visit the following link: