News Detail
Jesuit Father Mark McGregor at the Air Force chapel while deployed in Southwest Asia.
“Everyone there is so focused on the mission, but the personal stories behind the men and women, that’s the real blessing of the chaplain’s life — you get to hear about those things and to speak a word of strength and comfort and to listen to them.” — Jesuit Father Mark McGregor
Jesuit Chaplain Reflects on Offering Spiritual Care to Those Deployed at Christmas

December 23, 2013 — Last year, Jesuit Father Mark McGregor spent the Christmas season in Southwest Asia, where he was serving as an Air Force chaplain. Tending to the spiritual needs of those deployed was especially important during the holidays, he explained in a recent article published by San Antonio Magazine.

“There were a lot of youngsters there who were experiencing their first holiday away from home or airmen who missed being with their wives or husbands or tucking their kids in,” he says.

Fr. McGregor was deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia in July 2012 for a six-month stay. There, he served as the chief of chaplains on the flight line, helping with morale and spiritual needs, celebrating Mass and making people feel welcomed.

According to Fr. McGregor, the attendance at the Christmas Eve service doubled or tripled. “There was just a real hunger to celebrate Christmas. Many of them were Catholic, some of them weren’t, but they wanted to be together and share together.

“Everyone there is so focused on the mission, but the personal stories behind the men and women, that’s the real blessing of the chaplain’s life — you get to hear about those things and to speak a word of strength and comfort and to listen to them.”

Before Fr. McGregor was commissioned to Southwest Asia, he taught media studies at both Fairfield University in Connecticut and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. He felt compelled to help the military after seeing people lose loved ones and watching soldiers coming back wounded after 9/11.

“I saw that if I didn’t do something with the military then, at 47, I probably wouldn’t do it and I would feel regret,” he explained. “It just touched a desire to serve the military and to help them know that their exercise of religion was going to be supported.”

Currently, Fr. McGregor serves as a chaplain at the Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. He says his role there is to help people maintain their spiritual fitness, one of the four dimensions of fitness defined by the Air Force (the other three are physical, emotional and social fitness).

At the base in Texas, he ministers to soldiers on active duty, guard or reserve members of the military, retired military and their dependents. “I provide direct care to all and religious support for all,” he said. “The Jesuit in me likes the variety of religious traditions and those who claim no religious preference, yet are spiritual or want to grow spiritually.” [Source: San Antonio Magazine]


Recent News

January 18, 2017 — Jesuit Father Pat Conroy, who became the 60th chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, could use your help — because “a lot of prayer is needed.”

January 18, 2017 — Recently, 140 members of Native American tribes gathered at Gonzaga University to celebrate their history of friendship with the Jesuits.

January 16, 2017 — On Jan. 13, Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, joined Centro Astalli in commemorating the International Day for Migrants and Refugees at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

January 13, 2017 — In honor of a great man, here are 31 inspirational Martin Luther King Jr. quotes.

January 11, 2017 — Ten percent of the 115th U.S. Congress are Jesuit college and university alumni/ae.

January 10, 2017 — The school took part in the selection process, designed to create ripple effects of social awareness, education and inspiration among students.

January 6, 2017 — Although Martin Scorsese’s new film “Silence” is based on a novel by Shusaku Endo, many of the events and people depicted in the movie are real.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 1/2/17

America 12/19/16

America 12/05/16



Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland
Nestled in the urban landscape of Parma, Ohio, the Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland is “a place of peace in the forest.”