Fr. Luke Dundon ‘2011 shares Highlights of Ministry as US Navy Chaplain

Fr. Luke Dundon ‘2011 shares Highlights of Ministry as US Navy Chaplain

The Angelicum’s alumni office presents to you the extraordinary testimony of Fr. Luke Dundon ‘2011, of the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia) who currently serves as Catholic chaplain for the US Navy with the Archdiocese of the United States Military Services. His extraordinary work with US military service men and women is a sign of the abiding presence of God!

“I had an amazing experience at the Angelicum that surely helped me in my present ministry as a U.S. Navy Chaplain.

I was enriched by three interweaving realms — that of the classroom, that of the university cloister (courtyard), and that of the chapel. The classroom was rich in its typical manner as professors such as the late Fr. Robert Christian, Fr. Edmund Ditton, and Fr. Luke Buckles would impart their love of Truth to us in the various classes they taught. In between class was time to socialize in the university cloister. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know my religious classmates from around the world. Indispensable to the experience was a trip to the bar for a caffe macchiato, and then perhaps a walk through the back university garden where the orange trees grew. The joy that permeated through the student body each day was nothing less than rejuvenating. Lastly, and most importantly, was our time spent in the adoration chapel. Whether it was before class started, or during lunch hour, or before evening classes, the chapel was a priceless treasure of quiet with the Lord.

Living in Rome was not always easy for me. I had never lived in a city prior to that time, so finding quiet was more priceless than green sambuca from Abruzzi. When I found that chapel, it truly reminded me of why I was studying, what I was studying, and who I was going to serve for the rest of my life as a priest. When I noticed that the chapel was always full each day, it gave me renewed hope that ministry as a priest was going to be exciting!

Those reminders certainly bore fruit in my life as a parish priest for three years in Arlington, Virginia, following my ordination in 2011. I subsequently answered the Lord’s invitation to minister to His people in the United States Navy as a chaplain in 2014. The first few years were daunting to say the least. However, I continued to find the same core principle that St. Thomas Aquinas sang about in his Tantum Ergo — it’s all about our Lord in the Eucharist.

I served on a couple ships with the Marines for a number of years. By my fourth and present assignment, I was headed out again on the largest ship we have of the U.S. Navy, an aircraft carrier. Aircraft carriers the have largest number of souls onboard. I was all set to celebrate the sacraments, but I thought I should try something new, so I purchased a monstrance for our deployment, unsure how this would work out. Life on ships is very loud and busy, so living in Rome was good preparation! However, I was not certain how people would respond to our chapel hosting Eucharistic Adoration.

I was floored by what happened next. Once I began offering it, people started coming immediately, and on a regular basis. I naturally enjoyed the time spent with the Lord, but I wanted to know why others were visiting so often, thousands of miles from the nearest coastline. I asked a few folks about their reasons. The response was almost unanimous. Being with him gave them joy and peace that they couldn’t find anywhere else on the ship. Quite literally, Jesus was “in the boat” with them!

I credit the Angelicum for prioritizing a similar space for quiet moments spent with our Lord, which really informed everything we studied there. I look back on the memories with fondness and gratitude.”

Say a prayer for the efforts of our Angelicum alumni around the world. Truly they carry out to the world that which they have contemplated in our university classrooms!  Thank you Fr. Luke!



Credit: US Navy Academy