According to Fleet Chaplain McGuire's family historian, William "Bill" LeMay, the phrase was said by Chaplain Howell Forgy on USS New Orleans. The error was poor research by LIFE, Nov 2, 1942, who placed McGuire on the cover. In the New York Herald Tribune Nov 1, 1942, he denied the quotation. In William A McGuire's autobiography, Rig For Church (NY: MacMillan Co; 1942), he denied saying the quotation.
The location of Fleet Chaplain McGuire when the attack began is clouded, not just from LIFE magazine's error, but from film shown in John Ford's famous DECEMBER 7 movie. Cinematographer Greg Toland had "staged" Fleet Claplain McGuire giving an open air Mass then sailors dispersed on the run as he gave the news of the attack...but that was staged footage.
He was actually in a boat sent for him by USS California headed down SE Loch in the midst of the aerial torpedo drops...near the location where US Naval PROCEEDINGS and NAVAL HISTORY articles suggest a midget sub was firing on Battleship Row.
Did Chaplain Forgy say the famous quote? Confirmation is from:
Chaplain Howell M Forgy: "...And Pass the Ammunition" (NY: D-Appleton-Century Co; 1944)
Howell M Forgy: "I Praised the Lord - They Passed the Ammunition" Navy Magazine Dec 1964 p46-47 (reprinted from Family Weekly, Sunday suppliment, Dec 1, 1993).
"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" August 1943 newsclipping printed in THE PELICAN newsletter of USS New Orleans Reunion Assn, Vol 69, Aug 1994.
Luther Clyde Carter, Jr: The NO Boat: The Unfinished Story of the USS New Orleans [Berkley, CA: James J Gillick & Co; 1945]