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Priest Chaplain Nurtures Soldiers’ Faith in Afghanistan Deployment
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly ^ | 8/27/13 | Tami Quigley

Posted on 08/27/2013 8:25:52 PM PDT by marshmallow

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CNS) — After more than a year of preparation, Father Christopher Butera has made his way to Afghanistan, serving as chaplain to an Army unit helping train Afghan soldiers as the U.S. presence in the mountainous country winds down.

A priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Father Butera began his deployment in mid-August. It is his first assignment to Afghanistan.

“As an Army chaplain, my core mission is three-fold: nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead,” said Father Butera, son of Kathleen (Lynch) and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Butera of Pottsville, Pa.

Ordained in 2007, Father Butera is in the Army Chaplain Corps, holding the rank of captain and senior priest for the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, headquartered in what is known as Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

He has been on active duty for three years since leaving his diocesan assignment at St. Thomas More Parish in Allentown. He also served at the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he was the warrant officer career college chaplain and senior priest.

It took Father Butera 14 months to prepare for duty in Afghanistan.

“Our overall strategic mission is to advise and assist the Afghanistan military in assuming the regular and day-to-day military operations,” Father Butera said.

“Although we are transitioning in this way, the region is becoming slightly more dangerous as attacks on U.S. forces have spiked,” he said. “Within this mission, my mission as a chaplain never changes but adapts to the operation, terrain and logistics of the situation we are involved in. So I basically always provide religious support and advise the commander.

“As a squadron chaplain — my squadron call sign is ‘Holy Smoke’ — I belong to the personal staff of the squadron commander. This means......

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TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach

1 posted on 08/27/2013 8:25:52 PM PDT by marshmallow
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