Norfolk, Va., Oct 15, 2013 / 02:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Navy captain who led the successful effort to rescue a cargo ship captain captured by Somali pirates says Catholic men can be heroes in everyday life through fatherhood and self-sacrifice.
“You don’t have to be a captain of a naval warship or the president of a company or anything else to be a hero,” Capt. Francis X. Castellano told the Knights of Columbus in an interview.
Castellano, 45, commanded the USS Bainbridge, a guided missile destroyer, in the successful effort to rescue cargo ship captain Richard Phillips from pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009.
“Every day we can do something little by little, to go ahead and show heroic traits, and just be who we are, be Catholic men of faith.”
“I think all fathers are heroes to their families,” he continued. “Their children and their spouses look up to them. I think our call to heroism every day in our lives is to be continuing members of the community, to stand up for what we believe in, to be role models as parents, and role models in the community, helping the less fortunate and giving our time back.”
In April 2009, four pirates had attempted to hijack the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, but Phillips’ crew had retaken their vessel and captured one pirate. The remaining pirates took Phillips as a hostage and fled the ship on a lifeboat.
The Bainbridge pursued the pirates. After a tense standoff in which the pirates repeatedly threatened the cargo ship captain’s life, U.S. Navy forces killed the pirates and freed Phillips on Easter Sunday.
The story of the pirate attack is dramatized in the new movie “Captain Phillips,” with actor Tom Hanks starring in the title role. Castellano’s part is played by Yul Vazquez.
Castellano, a former altar boy who now serves as an usher, lector, and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, said his faith helped him in the crisis.
“Being a Catholic is important to me. In terms of the rescue mission for Capt. Richard Phillips, my Catholic faith and being a Knight of Columbus played a big role in what I believed in, that we wanted to bring Capt. Phillips back home safely to his family and protect the greater good.”
Castellano grew up at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Patchogue, N.Y., where his great uncle was a priest and pastor.
“My mother (Read More)