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: 9/11/2017
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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
September 2017

September is generally known for the Labor Day Holiday. Labor Day was originally made a national holiday in 1894, and its purpose was to honor America’s workers, particularly those who worked for labor unions, and it had a labor union flavor from day one. On Labor Day, most workers celebrate it as a three-day weekend that marks the last blast of summer for most people. The trappings that we associate with Labor Day are sunscreen, beaches, and another day to sleep in. And of course, a day off of work. Amazingly enough, even the greeting card companies, who manage to capitalize on almost anything else resembling a holiday, haven’t quite figured out how to get people to want to send Labor Day cards to anyone. But, does one day off work really give your weary mind and body rest?

While there is no real Christian reason to mark this particular holiday, there is a very clear biblical reason to understand our labor, our work, and its relationship to our Lord, and our faith in Christ.

Jesus is quoted in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 11, verses 28-30 as saying “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The labor and rest here spoken of are primarily those which affect souls. That is, the labor and the heavy burden which sin imposes, and the rest which follows the forgiveness of that sin. Incidentally, however, physical burdens are also made lighter by coming to Jesus, because the soul is made stronger to bear them.

Jesus hasn’t asked us to come one time only but to do it continually. I think there are some who want to do it themselves. There is no-one else who can truly give us rest. We need to come to him in prayer and ask for what we want. He wants us to depend on Him. God cares about our work, whatever that may be, and He claims it as His own. In Colossians Chapter 3 verses 23-24 Paul encourages us this way, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” If we think that we are serving Christ and not men with our work, He promises us a reward! That, if we do our work diligently as if we were doing it for Christ it won’t be burdensome and cause us to be weary even if it’s volunteer work!

Finally, Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 13 tells us “every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.”

So, let’s do our work Jesus’ way, do it diligently as though we are doing it for Him, and enjoy the gifts of our labor that He gives us. Not just today, or this month, but all year long!

I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

​Chaplain John