The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - August 1st 2018
United Nations Command Chaplain U.S. Army Col. Sam Lee performs a blessing Friday on 55 cases of remains believed to be U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War and returned by North Korea at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Staff Sgt. Quince Lanford/U.S. Army.

Our Nation Remembers

By ANGIE WANG, Associated Press

EVENDALE, Ohio - Korean War veterans around the country had something extra to celebrate Friday as they marked the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended combat.

At the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City, veterans gathered at a ceremony to hear from former Rep. Charles Rangel and South Korean Ambassador Hyo-Sung Park.

An honor guard presented the American flag and played taps to honor soldiers killed in the conflict.

The veterans who attended said they were thankful for the acknowledgement of their service, something they felt was lacking for a long time.

"When we came home, we had no parade," said Sal Scarlato, who served in Korea and is now the president of the Korean War Veterans Association of New York. "We got discharged, we went to work."

In Ohio, more than 70 veterans from all military branches gathered at the GE Aviation plant in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale to commemorate the July 27, 1953, cease-fire. They were delighted at news that a U.S. military plane made a rare trip into North Korea to retrieve 55 cases of what are believed to be remains of their fallen American comrades.

Veterans said they hope the remains, once identified, will help families at least have closure from the loss of loved ones, with military burials and conferring of service awards.

At the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, United Nations Command honor guards held flags on Friday during a commemorative ceremony.

Navy veteran Robert Jacobs, 89, called it "a marvelous thing."  Jacobs praised Trump as "a fantastic president" who's doing the smart thing by talking to U.S. adversaries in an effort to gain a permanent peace agreement.

"The war between the North and the South will go on for many years," Jacobs said. "But at least they're talking ... And eventually, maybe not in my lifetime, they'll get together and have a united Korea."

William Becker, 91, a Navy veteran, also praised Trump's efforts, saying it's important to have talks that could lead to peace, including between the Koreas.

"They're all Koreans," Becker said. "Just like we were when we had a Civil War, we were all Americans. And hopefully they can come to peace with each other."

About 7,700 U.S. service members are listed as missing from the 1950-53 Korean War, and 5,300 remains are believed to still be in North Korea.

In Memoriam

Captain, US Navy, Retired
July 12, 1945 to May 18, 2018
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
MCA Member 2014
Provo, Utah

Captain, US Navy, Retired
October 2, 1947 to July 14, 2018
Evangelical Free Church of America
MCA Member 2000
Colorado Springs, Colorado

LCDR, US Navy, Retired
deceased June 21, 2018
Spirit of Peace Baptist Church
MCA Life Member 1985
Washington, District of Columbia


Executive Director  Notes

A miscellany of topics for this week's article that will cover a number of different topics across the board:

First, I have heard from a few of you as to the specifics of "what will happen when" during our National Institute on 5 thru 7 November at the Sheraton Arlington. As a quick "warning order," if you are on the National Executive Committee (NEC) we will gather for lunch on Monday at Noon at the hotel restaurant and then meet immediately after lunch. The implication of this is that if you are on the NEC and live relatively close commuting-wise, then you should be able to make the drive in on Monday morning in time for lunch. If it is a bit of distance for you, then you will need to drive - or fly- in on Sunday for the lunch and meeting on Monday. More specific details to follow as soon as the ink is dry on the hotel contract, and we have worked out some more of the details of workshops and speakers. However, I would urge all current and former Army members to register and stay for the US Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association which will kick off on Wednesday evening, 7 November.

Second, we now have our first chaplain who has submitted their paperwork for the advance practice chaplaincy status of military chaplain. This will be a historic occasion for the chaplain, MCA and The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). More details to follow!

Third, we recently noted the Susquehanna Chapter having a meeting at the end of July. We are awaiting word on how that went, however it has spurred me on to seeing if we can have a gathering of MCA members in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. I will be getting an email out to members who are within about a 45 minute drive or so of Asheville and we'll get a mark on the calendar to see if we can shake the tree and pull folks together. Definitely more to follow on that gathering.

Finally, we have two more congregations who have asked to affiliate with the Veteran/ Military Friendly Congregation (VMFC) program that seems to have gotten a new wind in its sails, and I will be meeting with leadership from that group at the end of the month.

All in all there are some good things brewing for us, however we cannot be complacent about letting folks know who we are and what we are about. Let me know if you have some insights on how we can do that better by email, text or phone call.

Fr. Razz Waff, DMin, BCC

Kenyan Military Chaplain
Nurturing Faith in Conflict

As conflicts rage on throughout Africa, thousands of troops and their families are suffering the consequences of living through war, as well as the difficulties of being separated from their loved ones who are risking their lives in hope of achieving peace.

Fr Benjamin Maswili, Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate in Kenya, spoke to Fr Paul Samasumo, Head of Vatican News' English for Africa Programme, about the role of priests and chaplains in conflict zones. He explains how the 23 chaplains involved help soldiers and their families overcome psychological trauma through counselling and religious support.

Fr Maswili acts as a priest to those who seek comfort with anything regarding faith, as well as playing the role of general counsellor for soldiers of any religion that may need help dealing with mental or physical traumas. He said there is a huge amount of importance placed on offering the families of soldiers the support that they need.

Fr Maswili said his transition to the Military came after having been asked to join by the late Cardinal Otunga, stating that it was initially quite difficult but that one must learn to adjust in order to work efficiently.

He said a military chaplain's job involves far more than simply celebrating Mass. Mass is hugely important, he said, since it is where the soldiers derive the strength to leave on their missions. But the chaplains before, during and after their missions, he pointed out.

Before being sent off on their mission, the soldiers are counselled together. Their families are also offered counselling, in order to psychologically anticipate any potential tragedies and to help them understand and accept the work that the soldiers do.

The priests are also used as a communication device, he said, reporting news of the soldiers back to their families and vice-versa. This aids harmony and reassurance, as good news of one's family's well-being would help anyone settle psychologically.

The follow up from any traumas the soldiers may be suffering following a mission is over, with the soldiers being counselled before being sent back to their families, to aid re-integration.

There are 23 chaplains and around 40 catechists assigned to the Kenyan Defense Forces. Fr Maswili tells Fr Samasumo that they are still looking for more Chaplains, relying on help from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB).

Fr Maswili said his work and his counselling are inclusive. Should non-Catholic soldiers require guidance regarding their faith they must, understandably, refer to their own chaplain. However, when it comes to any other form of psychological guidance and counselling Fr Maswili is there to offer his services - regardless of the soldier's religious affiliation.

When asked whether he ever fears for his life whilst on the field, Fr Maswili described his work as a sacrifice, talking about how the chaplains move with the soldiers, following them wherever they go. They are there to counsel them and to offer them sacraments: Holy Communion, Conversion, whatever the need may be the Chaplains must be available to provide this support.

Whether on the front-line or not, Maswili says that he feels protected by the soldiers, as non-combatants the Chaplains are automatically protected by the troops that accompany them.

Fr Maswili said there is an organized study for catechists and chaplains after seminary training, where priests go for further psychological studies. They leave these studies with a Masters in the subject and the necessary tools to handle any psychological counselling.

Planning Ahead

Soul Repair Center 

Spiritual Care for Moral Injury:
Equipping Religious Leaders and Faith Communities

Thursday, November 15, 2018
8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m.

"Responding to Moral Injury with Pastoral and Theological Wisdom: A Conversation"
Carrie Doehring, Shareda Hosein, Shelly Rambo, Nancy Ramsay,
and Michael Yandell

"Cultivating Awareness of Moral Injury in Sacred Texts"
Exploring: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist texts with
David Blumenthal, Warren Carter, Amir Hussain, Joseph McDonald,
and John Thompson

Hosted by Iliff School of Theology
2201 S. University Blvd, Denver, CO 80210

for more information or to register.
Registration $35
Opens in June 1, 2018

Block of hotel rooms nearby will be available at conference rate November 14-15, 2018

The Military Chaplains Magazine
2018 Themes and Submission Deadlines
Fall Issue - Religious Accommodation in 2018
Articles to be submitted by August 31
Publication September 24
Winter Issue - Chaplaincy and Religion in a Post-Truth World
Articles to be submitted by November 30
Publication December 21

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