75th Anniversary


Front-Line Chaplain

March 14th, 2011

Front-Line Chaplain

July 1944, page 67

Photo from Photos.com


The Second World War had profound effects on Catholic Digest  — as it did on the whole country and on the millions of service personnel and their families. The magazine operated short-staffed as many of its key lay employees enlisted in the military. Paper was in equally short supply, and often Catholic Digest had trouble printing enough copies to meet demand. But the biggest effect was seen in the war stories that dominated the publication during those years, especially stories of heroic chaplains who risked their lives right along with our troops.


The classic Catholic Digest article presented here is one of those stories. “Frontline Chaplain” appeared in July 1944 and tells the powerful story of Fr. Albert Hoffman of Dubuque, Iowa, a chaplain for the Iowa National Guard whose unit was absorbed by the U.S. Army.


The story unfolds as Captain Hoffman and his unit approach what was left of the small Italian town of Santa Maria Olivetti after German troops have abandoned it, and it gives us a dramatic picture of men in battle and the faith they cling to as they face hell on earth.


Dan Connors



Click here to download the PDF of this classic article