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Friday, July 3, 2009

The Life of a Priest who Served both Union and Confederate Soldiers Inspires us on the 4th of July

Fr. Peter Whelan sacrificed everything to bring Christ to others. He saved thousands of souls, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, visited the prisoner.

Fighting the Good Fight DVD is the first and only documentary presentation of the life of the remarkable and truly inspiring Fr. Peter Whelan, a Civil War chaplain and parish priest, whose life was lived according to St. Paul's words "No longer I, but Christ who lives within me." Peter Whelan left his life in Ireland and journeyed to the American South in 1830 to serve in the poor Catholic mission parishes.

Fr. Peter was more than a military chaplain, he was also a parish priest and even the administrator of the diocese of Savannah for two years. When offered the Episcopal appointment to the diocese of Savannah himself, he humbly declined. He served indiscriminately imprisoned soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies - actually living with the men in the difficult conditions of the prison camps - both Union and Confederate. He was the only chaplain at the notorious Andersonville prison camp in Georgia; perhaps the most amazing part of his life. The horrors at Andersonville caused the death of over 13,000 Union prisoners of war.

Fr. Peter is another superb example of a Catholic priest of heroic virtue - he said "When I give for Christ's sake, I give the best!" and he lived his life that way. In the jubilee Year of the Priest, there is no better time than now to tell the awe-inspiring story of his life and work with the poor, the prisoner and the abandoned.

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