USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Chaplain's Page

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If you know of any Lafayette shipmate on Sick Call, departed on Eternal Patrol, 
or just in need of prayer, please contact the Association Chaplin:      

The Submarine Verses are:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Who's arm has bound the restless wave.
Who bids the mighty ocean deep,
It's own appointed limits keep.
Dear Lord, we lift our prayer to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

Lord God, our power ever more,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea;
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray and keep,
Them safe from peril in the deep.

Lord, guard and guide the men who man
The submarines that guard our land.
Be with them always night and day,
In quiet depths or roaring spray.
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.

Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep.
May peace their mission ever be,
Protect each one, we ask of Thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray
For their return by night and day.

Updated: 12/13/2017
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John Fornicola
The Original Words are:

Verse 1:    Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, 
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 

Verse 2:    O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Verse 3:    Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 

Verse 4:    O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour; 
From rock and tempest, fire and foe, 
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
Navy Hymn

The "Navy Hymn" is Eternal Father, Strong to Save

The original words were written as a poem in 1860 by William Whiting of Winchester, England, for a student who was about to sail for the United States. The melody, published in 1861, was composed by fellow Englishman, Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, an Episcopalian clergyman. 

The hymn, found in most hymnals, is known as the "Navy hymn" because it is sung at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It is also sung on ships of the Royal Navy (U.K.) and has been translated into French.

Eternal Father was the favorite hymn of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was sung at his funeral in Hyde Park, New York, in April 1945. It was also played by the Navy Band in 1963 as President John F. Kennedy's body was carried up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Roosevelt had served as Secretary of the Navy and Kennedy was a PT boat commander in World War II.
The Submariner's Prayer

Almighty, Everlasting God, and the Protector of all those who put their trust in Thee: hear our prayers in behalf of Thy servants who sail their vessels beneath the seas.

We beseech Thee to keep in Thy sustaining care all who are in submarines, that they may be delivered from the hidden dangers of the deep.

Grant them courage, and a devotion to fulfill their duties, that they may better serve Thee and their native land.

Though acquainted with the depths of the ocean, deliver them from the depths of despair and the dark hours of the absence of friendliness and grant them a good ship's spirit.

Bless all their kindred and loved ones from whom they are separated.

When they surface their ships, may they praise Thee for Thou art there as well as in the deep?

Fill them with Thy Spirit that they may be sure in their reckonings, unwavering in duty, high in purpose, and upholding the honor of their nation.

Please submit any request to Chaplain John Fornicola
Monthly Moments for Meditation

December 2017

This year, the first Sunday in December began the season of Advent. Advent begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27 and December 3 each year. It will last for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. After Advent, the new Christian year begins with the 12-day celebration of Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. At the church where my wife and I attend, we started Advent on December 3. This year we are focused on the Lights that lead to the Savior. Our first Sunday was about Peace. Jesus is the Light of Peace. In Isaiah 9:6, one of the names given to Jesus is the Prince of Peace:

        “For unto us a Child is born,
        Unto us a Son is given;
        And the government will be upon His shoulder.
        And His name will be called
        Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

While Jesus did come to give us peace, peace can be hard to get and hard, at times, to hold on to. The Pastor told of one Advent when the person lighting the Candle of Peace had a hard time getting it to light and it took a while for the candle to light. It started with barely more than a flicker, but got stronger thru the service. Likewise, spiritually it can be hard to attain inner peace and, depending upon what is going on in your life, it can be hard to remain at peace.

In Psalms 34:14, we are told to seek peace and to purse it. In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said, “Blessed are the Peace makers.” When we really do pursue peace, we will achieve it. In order for that to happen, we first need to achieve inner peace. To do this we need to be connected to the Holy Spirit, who is one of the primary symbols for peace. We sometimes wonder why we don’t have peace. It could be because we don’t take the time to seek it, we don’t take the time to pursue it, and we don’t spend time in prayer with the Holy Spirit to stay at peace.

Isaiah 26:3 says that, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” A mind that is stayed on God is steadfast, immovable and grounded. A double dose of peace comes to those who stay focused on God. Have you noticed that, while driving your vehicle, when you shift your focus from the center of the road you begin to steer in the direction of your gaze? We tend to steer where we stare. This is also true of our spiritual life. When we take our gaze off of Christ, we begin to focus on our problems and not the solutions. We let fear overtake us. We begin to give into worry, fear, and anxiety. We begin to steer where we stare spiritually. When we realize that this is happening, we may need to reframe our focus and instead of getting all caught up in our problems we need to set or fix our gaze on God. When we regain our focus, a double dose of peace comes to those who are intentionally riveted on Him.

So, this Christmas and New Year season while we’re busy decorating the inside and outside of our homes, searching for the right gifts, and preparing and attending parties, let’s keep our minds fixed or stayed on the reason for the season, Jesus. As we do so, and as we pursue peace, we’ll enjoy that double dose of peace for ourselves as well as being the peace makers with others!

I pray that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chaplain John