Father Denis Mary Keating, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1904-1947)

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Born Joseph Bernard Keating on February 24, 1904 in Langdon, North Dakota, his family moved to Easby, North Dakota when he was in grammar school. Once grammar school was completed he dropped out of school to work at home so other family members could go to school. The family ran a boarding house with a farm attached. At eighteen Joseph entered Langdon High School and at the same time worked part-time in a grocery store. He completed high school in three and one-half years. He loved history and was respected socially in the town. Eventually, in part through the influence of Father Michael O’Brien, C.P., Joseph entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary, Normandy, Missouri. He professed his vows on August 7, 1930 and took the religious name of Denis. He had the ability to study and also question with a sense of faith and to learn. He was ordained a priest on May 22, 1937. After a year of sacred eloquence he was assigned to Des Moines, Iowa where he prepared to begin his work as a preacher of parish missions. In October 1941 Father Keating was the first member of Holy Cross Province to be of service to the Military Ordinariate as a military chaplain. He was sent to Camp Livingston, Louisiana around November 1, 1941. His service lasted four full years. After several months in a hospital unit he was transferred to 73rd Brigade, 141st FA. In approximately six months he was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain. A year later he was recommended as a Major, but he could not continue with his regiment at that rank so he remained a Captain for the entire duration of the war. Eventually the brigade was broken up and he was transferred overseas with the Fourth Armored Division as their Artillery Chaplain in early 1944 and was stationed in Devizes, England. In the last week of July 1944 the unit landed in France and Father Keating was wounded in action while administering the last sacraments under fire. He was awarded the Silver Star for action on August 7, 1944 at Point Scorff, France. He was evacuated to England, recovered, and had the opportunity to visit the English Passionists there. Most important were his visits to the places where Cardinal Newman had been in Oxford. In time he was back to duty and assigned to the Repple-Depot set-up and 456th AAA anti-aircraft work. This led to guard assistance to the staff of General Patton by December, 1941. In May 1945 he was at Dachau, the concentration camp near Munich, Germany. From there he made a retreat at Lourdes, France. Later he visited Theresa Neumann on May 16, 1945 at Konnersreuth. He returned home to the United States in 1945 and went to Sacramento, California as one of the first members there. He started to give parish missions. He died suddenly on March 31 in his sleep.