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Column for 6.1.11
Although I can’t remember the exact year, I’ve known Seán O’Brien since he was a young assistant pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes on Genesee Street in Utica and I was a reporter for the Utica Daily Press, a morning newspaper that no longer exists.
We’ve marched together in St. Patrick’s Day par-ades. We’ve spent time talking in his living room, when his living room was in Forestport, discussing all sorts of things. We’ve helped each other, although he’s done more to help me than vice versa.
Last time Father Seán went away on active duty, it was to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It was there that he broke his foot while playing a game called hacky sack.
Father Seán, who is now pastor of St. Joseph’s in Boonville, St. Patrick’s in Forestport, and St. Mary of the Snows in Otter Lake, is also a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and has the rank of commander.
When he was in Afghanistan on active duty, Father Sean sent me e-mails, which I then published in the Boonville Herald. Now he’s away again on active duty.
I got this e-mail from Father Seán today:
I’m in Kuwait. Sorry I didn’t have a chance to get to you before I left. Is this a good e-mail for you or should I write to another? I’m 7 hrs ahead of you on the clock, so please pardon the delay. I’ll be here until sometime in early July and then return home.
Rev. Seán P. O’Brien
CDR, CHC, USN
I sent him back this e-mail:
Hi Rev. Seán,
Thanks for the e-mail. This is my personal e-mail. Write to me at this address.
Speaking of writing, I’d love it if you could send me updates on your activities in Kuwait so I can publish them in the Herald, which I did with the e-mail I got from you today. Your updates don’t have to be long. They can be an e-mail postcard kind of thing. I can assure you they will be well read. Many people, including your congregation at St. Joseph’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Mary of the Snows, your colleagues in the veteran organizations, Kayuta Lake friends, and many others, including yours truly, are interested in hearing from you. In return, I’ll write back and let you know what’s going on here in Boonville and the surrounding area.
It’s OK that you didn’t contact me before you left. I know what it’s like trying to get ready for a trip, although I’ve never gone as far away as Kuwait and I’ve never been gone for two months at a time.
June and July in Kuwait. Whew! I hope you have a/c.
Take care. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. And, please, no hacky sack, on this deployment.