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A former Radcliff priest has been picked to serve as the Army National Guard assistant to the Army’s Chief of Chaplains.
The Rev. Patrick J. Dolan — pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Church from 1998 to 2004 — is the first Roman Catholic priest to serve in this capacity, according to the National Guard. The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed his nomination from colonel to brigadier general.
Dolan started Oct. 1.
When he isn’t on duty, the priest pastors two Casey County parishes: St. Bernard and Sacred Heart. They are part of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“My archdiocese has been very supportive,” Dolan said. He expects to travel some on weekdays for his military job and be back in Casey County each weekend for Masses.
Dolan, 61, has served in the military since 1986 with five years in active duty. He has been deployed to the Middle East four times.
He eats in mess halls, lives in barracks and sleeps on cots.
“I like being like every other soldier,” he said.
Dolan has found soldiers to be especially receptive to his message. Stateside, he searches out people to come to church.
“When I’m over there, they look for me,” he said.
He said he requested to pastor the Radcliff parish — which is next to the Fort Knox Army post — in part because he felt with his military background he could better understand parishioners’ needs. The other reason is that the town has an international feel, with many residents from countries such as Germany and Korea.
Dolan received his doctorate in theology from the School of Theology in Vatican City, Rome, and has spent much time abroad.
He also has a doctorate in chemistry.
With his new post, he will develop programs and policy dealing with the 2,800 member Army National Guard chaplains corps and the 365,200 soldiers they serve,” according to the National Guard.
Plus, “I do whatever the Chief of Chaplains tells me,” Dolan said. Working out of his parish, he is sent to various locations across the country.
His main job is to assist state chaplains — he has been one for Kentucky — with issues such as funding and best practices. Specifically, Dolan can field their questions about Catholic priests who work for them, for instance.
“He is a wonderful and faithful priest, always serving others,” said Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz for a National Guard article. “And his involvement with the Army and the National Guard has been so typical of the unselfish way he has served others in the name of Christ.”
John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.