Through tears, hugs and prayers, St. Francis Xavier parishioners bid their farewells last August to Father Jack, not only their priest, but one who had become a very dear friend, as he prepared to ship out to Iraq. Franciscan Father Jack (John) W. Hoak served as parochial vicar at that parish for several years.
He now serves as a U.S. Navy chaplain stationed near Baghdad. Offered an assignment in upstate New York, he chose instead to volunteer to serve in Iraq with his brothers and sisters who are fighting to ensure a country free of terrorism. But Father Jack never left the hearts or the feelings of St. Francis parishioners.
"Dear Father Jack" emails and letters began shortly after he left. But, at times, the communications left many of his former parishioners with an uneasy feeling about his safety. (Read my entite article on Catholic Exchange.)