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Press Release | Dec. 9, 2023

Embracing the Spirit: Father Mode's Vision for Unity and Fellowship in the Pacific

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam

In a significant stride for international collaboration and spiritual guidance, Father Daniel Mode, the Chaplain of the Coast Guard, recently visited the U.S. Coast Guard Team Guam from Dec. 2 - 6, 2023. This visit follows the historic first International Coast Guard chaplain exchange, during which Father Mode spent time with the Philippine Coast Guard.

A Life in Service
Father Mode's journey with the military is deeply rooted and extensive. As the son of a Navy officer, he has lived a life intertwined with military service, spanning over 57 years with 23 Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves. His familial ties to the military extend beyond his father, with his brother serving as a submariner. Remarkably, a Mode has served in the Navy for over 75 years.

Spiritual Guidance and Leadership
Acknowledged as the service's spiritual leader, Father Mode has been instrumental in the upliftment of the U.S. Coast Guard's spiritual and moral framework. His global life experience and understanding of military life have been pivotal in catering to the diverse needs of service members. Father Mode's recent involvement in giving the Catholic Mass on Naval Base Guam for the first Sunday of Advent draws a poignant analogy to his role - much like standing the watch in military service, Advent symbolizes a period of vigilant waiting and preparation, reflective of the dedication and readiness inherent in military life.

Empowering the Chaplain Corps
Under Father Mode's leadership, the Coast Guard Chaplains have substantially increased by more than 25 percent since June 2022. This enhancement includes the integration of reserve and auxiliary chaplains, who deployed for extended periods. Emphasizing the importance of this expansion, Father Mode remarked, "Increasing the number of chaplains' 'at the point of care' ensures our presence from our waterfronts to ships conducting Operation Vigilant Sentry and Arctic deployments, and notably, the appointment of Chaplain Richard Min, our first Chaplain in Guam."

A Notable Reduction in Suicides
2023 has seen a heartening decrease of more than 50 percent in suicides within the Coast Guard from 2022. This improvement is a testament to the expanded services and programs, particularly the enhanced resiliency programs supported by the Coast Guard Foundation. Father Mode reflects on this topic, "While we're trending in the right direction, we must remember that one death is too many. We must look out for our shipmates, always." 

Future Collaborations and Recognition
As Father Daniel Mode concludes his inspiring visit to U.S. Coast Guard Team Guam, he leaves behind a vision brimming with potential and hope. His reflections on the visit extend far beyond a routine check-in; they delve into the spiritual richness and potential for profound fellowship in the Pacific, particularly in the spiritually vibrant communities of Micronesia and Oceania.

The Pacific region, known for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultures, is also a realm where spirituality weaves through the daily lives of its inhabitants. In these remote areas, where the vast ocean meets the sky, the spiritual beliefs and practices of the communities are as deep and enduring as the sea itself. This profound spiritual depth offers a unique opportunity for shared fellowship and understanding, particularly for the chaplains who serve alongside the Coast Guard in these regions.

Father Mode envisions a future where this spiritual connection is recognized, celebrated, and integrated into the fabric of the Coast Guard's operations. The presence of chaplains in these remote areas is more than a mere extension of spiritual services; it's an opportunity to build bridges of understanding, participate in the rich tapestry of local beliefs, and provide support that resonates deeply with the spiritual nature of these communities.

This vision ties seamlessly into the long and storied history of Navy chaplains who have served with distinction for 248 years. Nov. 28, 2023, marked not just another year but a celebration of nearly two and a half centuries of unwavering spiritual guidance, resilience, and support provided by these dedicated individuals. It's a testament to their enduring commitment to the well-being of service members, a commitment that has seen them serve the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard with equal enthusiasm.

Background on Father Daniel L. Mode
Extensive education and diverse military assignments mark Capt. Daniel L. Mode's journey to becoming the 12th Chaplain of the Coast Guard. His academic background includes degrees in Philosophy, History, and Theology, with his thesis on Navy Chaplain Father Vincent Capodanno later evolving into a celebrated biography, "The Grunt Padre." His pastoral assignments spanned from associate pastorships to school vice-principal and parish pastor roles. His first assignment with the U.S. Coast Guard was at the Academy. 

Father Mode's military service commenced in 1988, encompassing various roles across the Navy and Marine Corps, including deployments supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His commendable service has earned him numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.