Fr Dominic Ternan

Fr Dominic Ternan

Birth
Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 19 Jun 1944 (aged 41)
Basse-Normandie, France
Burial Totowa, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA
Plot Franciscan
Memorial ID 147891147 · View Source
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Dominic Ternan was born to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard O. Ternan in Brooklyn, New York, on 8 November 1902. In 1927, he graduated from Fordham University, where he played on both the football and basketball teams. He took a job in the New York Telephone Company's Bronx office until he entered the Franciscan Novitiate at Patterson, New Jersey in the summer of 1934.

An early member of Jesuit Father John Corbett's St. Patrick's Clerical Club "an organization founded to foster belated vocations to the priesthood"Ternan donned his brown habit and pronounced his simple vows as a Franciscan on 27 August 1934. For the next four years, he studied theology at Holy Name College (the seminary affiliated with St. Bonaventure College.) There, he pronounced his solemn vows on 17 September 1937. On 30 September 1937, he was ordained to the priesthood, which to him "was such a sacred trust, such a tremendous responsibility that in contrast all else paled into insignificance." Father Dominic's first and only appointment was to the Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi, New York City in July 1938. At St. Francis, he showed the greatest interest in caring for the sick in hospitals. He also sought out every opportunity to work among the underprivileged.

In April 1942, Father Dominic enlisted in the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps, and received initial training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana before being assigned as headquarters chaplain of the 79th Infantry Division at Camp Pickett, Virginia. He subsequently moved with the division as it received additional training at Camps Blanding and Phillips. Father Dominic sailed to England with the 79th Infantry Division and participated in the invasion of Normandy. It was said of him, "Because of his rugged constitution, he could endure all the physical hardships that his men did, and that to them, he was really a padre, with all the affection that soldiers are accustomed to use in that term."

Less than two weeks after Allied forces secured the beachhead, the 79th Infantry Division was on the Cotentin Peninsula of France, about to attack from the north bank of the Douve River toward the strategic port city of Cherbourg. Ternan jumped off with lead elements of his unit at 0500 on 19 June 1944. Somewhere near the village of Valognes, Father Dominic stopped to administer to one of his boys who had been wounded. Turning his back on the German lines while administering the Last Sacraments, he was hit in the back by a German sniper, falling over the body of the soldier he went to aid.

Father Dominic was the first American Franciscan to die on a World War II battlefield. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, and his life stands as a significant link between the values of the Franciscan Friars who founded St. Bonaventure, and the Army ROTC program that College President Father Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M. established at the College in 1936. The memory of Father Dominic is memorialized on a monument at St. Bonaventure that recognizes Bonaventure's own who made the highest sacrifice in defense of their country.


Clipped from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 16 May 1948, Sun, Page 21


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  • Created by: RealistState
  • Added: 15 Jun 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 147891147
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Fr Dominic Ternan (8 Nov 1902–19 Jun 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 147891147, citing Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by RealistState (contributor 46853001) .