Shipmate of the Week – Monsignor James Dorney

A portrait of Monsignor James J. Dorney, the Catholic Chaplain at Coast Guard Sector New York on Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Tom Sperduto.

A portrait of Monsignor James J. Dorney, the Catholic Chaplain at Coast Guard Sector New York on Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Tom Sperduto.

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Rivera.

Like any soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman who takes a vow to serve, a military chaplain takes a different type of vow. A chaplain not only serves but ministers to military personnel and, in many cases, their families and civilians working with the military. Military chaplains are trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation, and offer pastoral care and support their religious rights and needs.

Lt. Cmdr. Michael H. Griggs, chaplain at Sector Northern New England, presents Monsignor James J. Dorney with the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Rivera.

Lt. Cmdr. Michael H. Griggs, chaplain at Sector Northern New England, presents Monsignor James J. Dorney with the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Rivera.

Among the military chaplains who serve within a military community, are local pastors, priests, ministers and other religious mentors. One of these supporters is Monsignor James J. Dorney, a Roman Catholic priest. Dorney has faithfully served the Navy and Coast Guard for twenty years.

Dorney was born July 1932 and ordained in 1958. He has served at more than ten different congregations under several titles. Today he serves his Catholic parish as a monsignor. But, near and dear to our hearts, he serves as an Honorary Navy Chaplain.

Dorney was unable to become a member of the Navy Chaplain Corps early in his career due to his parish obligations but was provided the opportunity to give Sunday mass to military members. Dorney agreed to continue to serve in his parish at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Staten Island, N.Y., and perform Sunday masses for the Navy, starting in 1992 at the Fort Wadsworth Father Capodanno Memorial Chapel on Staten Island. In 1996, when the Navy moved out and the Coast Guard moved in from Governor’s Island to Fort Wadsworth, he continued providing masses and special services for Coast Guard members.

With more than 20 years of supporting the military community, it is no surprise that those who interact with him are significantly impacted by his compassion and lifetime of service.

Monsignor James J. Dorney speaks after being presented the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Rivera.

Monsignor James J. Dorney speaks after being presented the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Rivera.

“Monsignor Dorney has one of the biggest and most giving hearts of anyone I’ve ever met,” said Lt. Travis J. Gardner, Coast Guard chaplain at Sector New York.

Gardner recently put in a request to the Navy chief of chaplains for Dorney to be considered for the title as an ‘Honorary Navy Chaplain.’ This honor is not common and in fact is so rare, that as long as Gardner has been in the Navy, he has never seen this honor given out.

“Mosignor Dorney has a big heart for the military,” said Gardner. “He recently just celebrated his 80th birthday and what a wonderful way to honor him, by giving him the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain.”

Dorney’s support to the military has been significant over the years and the request was approved.

“This is not just an honor, but it is my calling,” said Dorney after he received the honorary title.

Do you know a Shipmate that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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  • Adrian Kavanagh

    I’ve have the good fortune to know Mosignor and I’m a better person for it. Thank you Fr. Dorney and God bless you.

  • Karen

    Congratulations Monsignor Dorney! As a St. Peter’s parishioner, I’ve had the good fortune to be graced by you, your warm smile, and your beautiful spirit. Being in your presence makes everyone feel closer to God.

  • http://twitter.com/claudioalpalice Claudio Alpaca

    He is man of God on the true sense of word as he has ever been, is ever near his community,loving Navy members. How should we not have done him the title of Honorary Navy Chaplain? He merit it. claudio alpaca

  • shinto

    i do wish Msgr. James J. Dorney a Very happy Birthday. I am a Priest from India. One Msgr. James J. Dorney was my Benefactor during my Studies.I had only his name and an ID number . i thinnk he is the one who helped me. I was searching for his details. If anybody has his condact Address plese give.