Sacraments & Prayer
As military personnel, we are prepared to be "situationally aware". TAMs (Tactical Aides-Mémoire) help us with reminders of procedures and ways of engaging with colleagues and the enemy so that we are effective. On service overseas, we deepen our awareness of the role of faith in a time of separation, in zones of conflict and also as a means to achieving reconciliation between diffferent groups. The early pages of the bible describe God's presence for people on the move:
"The Lord God went before the people, by day in the form of a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and by night in the form of a pillar of fire to give them light: thus they could continue their march by day and by night. The pillar of cloud never failed to go before the people during the day, nor the pillar of fire during the night." (Exodus 13:21-22)Through prayer and pastoral support for our Defence Forces colleagues, chaplains help them grow in awareness of their faith as a guide for life, as an instrument of peace-building and as a source of strength in any challenges of the future. The pastoral care which we provide to our military community at home and overseas flows from the generosity of God's love which is celebrated in all the sacraments. These are priveleged moments of encounter with God's grace and strength, with God's healing and peace. We are always at hand to celebrate God's mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our Sunday Mass and weekday Masses are offered with and for our military communities. We witness couples exchange solemn vows before God's altar and we are delighted to pray with and for their parents and their children. One of the great joys of chaplaincy work is helping a soldier prepare for the birth of her baby or congratulating a new father on the arrival of his son or daughter into the world. The Mingy Prayerbook provides personnel with some texts on which to reflect or pray and with some images of the art which has been commissioned by the Chaplaincy Service across the years. Not all the texts arise from the Christian tradition, we have included additional prayers also for Irish personnel and for our colleagues of other faiths.