Always Working the Catholic Angle

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) -- Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in April 2004 in an ambush in Sadr City, Iraq, was "a very dedicated young person, very willing to help people," recalled Father Benedict DeLeon, a pastor in the Sacramento Diocese. Whether he was helping as an altar server, a youth ministry leader or an extraordinary minister of holy Communion at his home parish, St. Mary Church in Vacaville, the young man was always "unselfish and generous, always willing to give a thousand percent," the priest told the Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Sacramento Diocese. The priest made the comments as the dead soldier's mother, Cindy Sheehan, remained camped out along a road near President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She was protesting the U.S. war in Iraq and demanding that Bush talk to her. Now pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Oroville, Father DeLeon was pastor of St. Mary Church from 1996 to 2001. He remembered Cindy and Patrick Sheehan and their four children being "regulars" at the Sunday night youth Mass. At that time, Cindy Sheehan was the parish's youth minister, a position she held for eight years.