June 1 – Happy Birthday Father Edward Whelly

WhellyHaving been raised in the Roman Catholic faith and also having served as an altar boy when I was a kid, I remember when priests who were born in this town were given a special level of respect. News of a young Amsterdam resident entering the seminary to become a a man of the cloth was also a pretty big deal in our neighborhood. Many Amsterdam natives have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They include Father Egan, Father Turner, Father Trivett, the Lamanna brothers, Father Iannotti, Father Politi, Father Vosko, Father Veneroso and Father Puglisi. More recently our city has produced Father Milunski, Father DeRose, Father Medwid and Father DeMartines. (I’m certain there are many more!)

Today’s Amsterdam Birthday Blog celebrant is another Amsterdam-born Priest named Father Edward Whelly. He was born on this date in 1906…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam-born priest in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

One thought on “June 1 – Happy Birthday Father Edward Whelly

  1. By the end of the war he was in charge of the entire Chaplain Corps in the Philippines.

    From my book, “Where Do We Find Such Men”: Father Edward Whelly is a long way from home. He’s Lt. Whelly now, on leave from the Diocese of Albany. The accommodations are, to say the least, primitive. But all the better to appreciate the glories of God, he thinks, as he gazes at the beautiful mountains of New Guinea, towering to the edge of heaven itself. So tranquil. So peaceful.
    And then the bombs burst and the deafening ack-ack firing of anti-aircraft guns quickly reminds him of the other side of the human condition.

    He dives into a muddy slit-trench. Our modern catacombs.

    And yet, out of all the evil of man’s inhumanity to man comes some good. His duty, after all, is to provide for the spiritual needs of his men. Faced with a possibly imminent court martial before the judgment seat of God, even those who have been long away from the Church find themselves easily reconciled.

    The necessities of war require some bending of the rules. The Sunday Mass obligation of his Catholic soldiers may be satisfied on Monday or Wednesday, or any other day, but the spiritual ardor required to meet that obligation is no problem. Here on the front lines, with often just the sky for shelter and two blankets for covering, most of the men would gladly receive the sacraments daily if possible. Chaplain Whelly does his best to accommodate. He labors as hard as any other man, from dawn to an hour past dusk, seven days a week.

    He ignores the noise and the cries and the fear for a moment and looks around him, at these kids who are even younger than himself.

    He’s heard the saying many times, of course, but he knows it to be true. In spite of Hell’s best efforts, there are no atheists in these foxholes.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s