Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

Meet the ‘Lone Survivor’ priest and ‘Grunt Padre’ author who’s now the head chaplain of the Coast Guard

Peter Pinedo
Reporter, Catholic News Agency

Fr Daniel Mode

The Rev. Daniel L. Mode, CHC, USN, S'92, arrived by boat to board the USS Vella Gulf to offer Mass and hear confessions. He was deployed to the Northern Arabian Gulf at that time.

Father Daniel Mode was the chaplain for the “Lone Survivor” SEAL team in Afghanistan and has authored a book about the famed “Grunt Padre,” Father Vincent Capodanno. Now there’s a new distinction on Mode’s impressive service record: leading the chaplaincy efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, the first Catholic priest to hold that important role in 12 years.

Yet Mode, 57, says his greatest mission is bringing the peace of Jesus Christ to the service members and civilians to whom he ministers.

“Peace is kind of my mantra,” Mode told CNA.

He was ordained in 1992 in the Diocese of Arlington, where he served for 13 years, pastoring Queen of the Apostles Parish in Alexandria from 2001 to 2005.

Mode was deployed as a chaplain to Afghanistan in 2005, and within the first 24 hours of being in theater he came face-to-face with the realities of war.

“I had my first death,” he said. “The soldier died in my arms in a field hospital in Kandahar.”

After ministering to service members in Afghanistan for 22 months, Mode said he realized the “amazing need for chaplains” and felt a “call within a call” to continue serving those who serve.

Since receiving his bishop’s permission to become a full-time, active military chaplain in 2007, Mode has worked to share God’s peace in his ministry all over the world. He has spent nine years overseas, seven of those years on ships and aircraft carriers.

“I’ve served in very remote places and very overseas places, and it’s just reinforced … that service members need their shepherds, they need their chaplains,” Mode said.

How has he sustained such incredible challenges as a priest and a military chaplain?

Mode, now a Navy captain, explained that “God is preeminent in my life. My savior Jesus gives me hope for the future. I believe in grace, and I believe that God gives us the grace to continue.”


Peter Pinedo
Reporter, Catholic News Agency