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March 9, 1942

MIS, HQ, Bataan

Heard Mass. Mass was celebrated beside a huge boulder under a tall tree. I was the server and a very clumsy one at that.

Confessed to priest and got short penance. He was a very understanding priest.

During communion planes roared overhead but dropped no bombs. Priest continued saying Mass without interruption. He is a very good priest, cool and calm. I don’t remember his name.

Priest gave a short sermon. He said: “A country is not made up of its geographical boundaries or its towns and cities and provinces. A country is made up of its people. The strength of a people is its Army and you are the army. Until you have been conquered, the country has not been conquered. Let God’s will be done.”

After Mass I had a short chat with him. He described how he gave a short talk to men in the front before they advanced to clear up ‘pockets’. He said he felt like crying when he saw thousands of men kneeling in the heart of the mountain to receive his blessings in a mass-confession.

He said that officers who had been away from the sacraments for years, some 10 to 20 years, went to confession.

God is in suffering, he said.

I don’t know why but whilst he spoke I kept remembering the cenniguela tree.