People always cry at weddings, but Father Brian Kane hopes they’ll be tears of happiness when he celebrates the wedding Mass today for Erik Zlomke and Sarah Hoffman.
Father Brian Kane, left, a chaplain in the Army National Guard, will officiate at Sgt. Eric Zlomke’s wedding Saturday, July 16, 2005. The two will report for active duty on Sunday to go to Iraq, where Zlomke will act as Kane’s assistant and bodyguard. (Eric Gregory)
On Sunday, both Kane and Zlomke will report for duty with the Army National Guard in preparation for deployment to Iraq.
Kane will be going as a chaplain and Zlomke will be his assistant, which means he’ll act as Kane’s bodyguard because military chaplains don’t carry weapons. Kane, who holds the rank of captain, and Zlomke, a sergeant, will both be assigned to the 67th Area Support Group which will ship off to Iraq later this year.
As chaplain, Kane will minister to the spiritual needs of the troops at a base but also will perform Masses, hear confessions, provide counseling and other religious services to men in the field.
"Wherever he goes I’ll be with him," Zlomke said. "There’s definitely danger, especially when we’re traveling. My main job will be to be sure that he makes it from point A to point B safely."
Zlomke, who joined the Army Guard three and a half years ago, has served a tour of duty as a medic in Bosnia. Kane was commissioned as a chaplain in March 2003 and had two summers of training at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Zlomke, 27, was a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln but was unsure of his career plans when he decided to join the guard. "It was a way to see a few things," he said.
As a medic in Bosnia, he discovered he had an aptitude for working with the sick and injured. Now he’s studying nursing while his fiancee has one more semester to finish her degree in business administration.
They’ve been a couple for three years, and had planned to get married after one of them had graduated. But when Zlomke got his deployment orders a month ago, "we talked about it and we both felt it would be a good thing for both of us if we were married" before he left, he said. They’ve only been officially engaged for three weeks.
They both attend St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, also known as the Newman Center, the Catholic student ministry where Kane has been assistant pastor. Since Zlomke and Kane will be almost constant companions in the Army, it was only fitting that he perform the ceremony.
"It will be a pretty small wedding," Zlomke said. "Just mainly our family. When I get back from Iraq we’ll renew our vows and it’ll be more of a big affair."
When he became a priest five years ago, Kane had no thoughts of joining the military, but while on the staff of the Newman Center he met many guard members who told him about the lack of Catholic chaplains, so he felt the call to serve. [Source]
I got to go on a cruise for my honeymoon. Unfortunately it was on an aircraft carrier without my wife and deployed to the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis.