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Veterans Mass, Remembrance on Nov. 11

Soldier salutes during the dedication of the Boston College Memorial. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Oct. 31, 2013

Retired US Navy Chaplain Robert K. Keane, SJ ’71, whose 23-year career in the service took him to the Middle East, Iceland and Japan, among other places, will be the featured speaker at the University’s 13th annual Veterans Day Mass and Remembrance Ceremony on Nov. 11.

The Mass, which takes place at 9:30 a.m. in St. Ignatius Church, will be celebrated by part-time Philosophy faculty member Paul McNellis, SJ, who is a veteran. The ceremony and roll call will follow at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial on Burns Library Lawn. Both events are open to all members of the Boston College community.

Fr. Keane, director of special projects in mission for the Office of the Vice President for Mission at the College of the Holy Cross, joined the Jesuits in 1965 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. Entering the US Navy in May of 1989, Fr. Keane aided earthquake relief efforts that fall in San Francisco. He was subsequently deployed to the Arabian Gulf and participated in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Saber before serving as chaplain at the Officer Candidate School at the Naval Education and Training Center in Newport, RI, where he earned certification as a master training specialist.

From 1996-98, Fr. Keane was a staff chaplain at the Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland, then for the US Sixth Fleet in Italy from 1998-2001 during Operation Enduring Freedom in support of operations in Kosovo. In 2005, he was deployed once again to the Arabian Gulf for Operation Iraqi Freedom before returning to Newport the following year to become director of training for the Naval Chaplains School. From 2009-2011 he was command chaplain for Marine Corps Bases in Japan, then was appointed command chaplain of Marine Corps Combat Development and Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va.

Fr. Keane retired from the US Navy in 2012, having earned two Legion of Merit awards, three Meritorious Service Medal awards, four Navy Commendation Medal awards, a Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous unit, service and campaign honors.

The Veterans Day Mass and Remembrance Ceremony is co-sponsored by the Boston College Alumni Association, the Human Resources Department and BC’s Army ROTC unit.