When Father John Bauer, C.Ss.R., celebrates Mass on Veterans Day Nov. 11, at Sacred Heart of Jesus, Highlandtown, he’ll not only dress in his camouflage vestments, he’ll reminisce about a Veterans Day 38 years ago, the date he was sworn into the U.S. Army.
Seven months later, the new army chaplain was in Vietnam, serving a year-long tour-of-duty from 1970-71.
“I don’t think anyone who has served in a war doesn’t take a pause on Veterans Day,” said Father Bauer, 79, associate pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and a chaplain for the Aberdeen chapter of the Catholic War Veterans. “You remember the people you served with, the people who died and your faith that guided you through the experience.”
Since Veterans Day falls on a Sunday this year, the native of Highlandtown will have the unique opportunity to deliver a homily in his boyhood church and tell the congregation about the importance of commemorating those who have served their country and advocating for the important work done by the CWV.
Formed in 1935 and granted a congressional charter in 1984, the CWV has chapters in all 50 states and more than 500 members live in Maryland.
The Maryland CWV chapters provide scholarship funds, visit patients in the Veterans Affairs hospitals, organize conformation candidates to assist disabled veterans at Mass and arrange spiritual pilgrimages in honor of fallen soldiers, Father Bauer said.
“We have a lot of veterans in this parish who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” he said. “This Mass will have significant meaning for them. I’m hoping I can reach others too. Perhaps we’ll attract more involvement in the important work of the Catholic War Veterans.”