Each year, St. Francis de Sales Parish in Belle Harbor honors Pvt. Daniel O’Connor, an honor student from the parish’s Catholic academy. He died with more than 600 servicemen, including the famed “Four Chaplains,” in the sinking of the troop ship Dorchester during World War II. The parish will honor Pvt. O’Connor again at noon, Sunday, Feb. 5, during the parish’s annual Mass for the Dorchester’s dead.
Eighty years ago, pandemonium seized the crew and passengers of the SS Dorchester when a German torpedo blew a hole in the troop ship as it carried 900 men and four U.S. Army chaplains.
The legacy of the four chaplains who died in the 1943 sinking of the SS Dorchester troop ship inspired scores of memorials throughout the U.S., including plaques, namesake chapels, murals, monuments, and stained-glass windows.
He needed the unbridled courage to train with U.S. Army paratroopers to earn his jump wings, and the prayerful humility to walk the sacred halls of the Vatican.