Church of St. John of St. Paul
Rev. Charles M. Eggert
Sixth Pastor 1963 - 1986
Rev. Charles M. Eggert

Father Charles Eggert had a long, uninterrupted career in the service of the Church, from the time he finished grade school and entered Nazareth Hall, forty-eight years as a priest and twelve years preparing, a total of sixty years of dedicated service [as of 1986].

His first assignment, after being ordained, was St. Michaels Church in St. Paul, where he served as an assistant from 1938 to 1942.

In October 1942 he enlisted in the Navy as a chaplain. He was assigned to the base at Norfolk, Virginia. Then he was transferred to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they trained torpedo pilots.

In June 1943 he was transferred to the Marine Fleet and sent to California, where he took a ship for Noumea, New Caledonia. The trip took twenty-nine days at sea, as they maneuvered to avoid hostile craft. From Noumea, he was sent to the First Marine Division, Fifth Marine Regiment in Melbourne, Australia, then to Milne, Bay, New Guinea.

On December 26, 1943, the day after Christmas, they invaded the Island of New Britain.  The first night, they dug foxholes, as the Japanese came over every night in what were called May-Tags, because of the noise they made.

In the jungle were snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes. The men slept in jungle hammocks, with a rubberized roof and meshed screens, which zipped shut to keep out the bugs. They were meant to be strung between trees, but the trees weren't always close enough, so they slept on the ground. It rained every day and Father contracted malaria. They fought there until Good Friday, 1944. Then the Army took over,

The next transfer was to the Island of Pavuvu, in the Russell Islands to regroup. Then it was to the Island of Peleliu where fighting continued from September to November 1944 when the island was secured.

Then back to Pavuvu to practice landing for invading the Japanese Islands, But before the invasion Father was returned to the States, having been in two invasions, which ware considered the maximum.

He was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Camp Kearney in January 1945.  After serving there about a year, he was sent to the Naval Base in San Diego until he was discharged in August, when the war ended.

He returned to St, Paul in the summer of 1946. Then he went to the Catholic University, Washington D.C. where he attended the School of Psychology and Psychiatry for two years and received a Master's Degree in Psychiatry. From there, he went to Loyola University in Chicago from 1948 to 1950, receiving a Degree in Experimental Psychology.

When he returned to St. Paul, he was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park, where he served from 1950 to 1964.

He was then assigned to St. John the Evangelist, in St. Paul where he served as pastor for twenty-three years.

During that time he had 431 funerals, 693 baptisms, 210 weddings and has offered 8640 Masses.

This is just a brief resume of Father Eggert's life but it reflects a long life of service.

Update: Father Eggert died on Friday June 20, 2003 at the age of 90.

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