UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
US Air Force Chaplain School Graduation!
On the morning of February 15, 2013, the feast day of the Meeting of our Lord, Rev. Fr. Francis Rella graduated from the Air Force Chaplain Corps College, Basic Chaplain Course. He was joined by 26 other Chaplains from various Christian Denominations, who will serve in the Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard. The 6 week training program takes place at Fort Jackson, SC which is an Army Installation and is housed in the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center which includes Army, Navy, and Air Force Chaplain Colleges housed in adjoining buildings.
Chaplains from the Army, Navy and Air Force are prepared to serve in a pluralistic religious environment, assure that the First Amendment Rights of the Constitution are granted to every Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, Coast Guardsman, and Merchant Marine, which guarantees the Free Exercise of Religion. Additionally, the United States Department of Defense officially recognizes Chaplains of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu Faiths and others. Each Chaplain provides religious services and Sacraments to their particular faith group, in addition accommodating those in the practice their faith with their respective denominational Chaplains. Each Chaplain is endorsed by an Ecclesiastical Body recognized by the Department of Defense. Chaplains have a dual role of Clergy and Officer. Father Francis holds the rank of Captain. In addition to his duties at the Seminary and Consistory, he will be serving with the 111th Fighter Wing in Horsham Air Guard Station, Pennsylvania.
The graduation ceremony was honored to have many Distinguished Visitors and Ecclesiastical Endorsers including His Grace Bishop Daniel, President of the Consistory and Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, who also represented the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA – His Eminence Metropolitan Antony.
Bishop Daniel is an Alumnus of the Army Chaplaincy School and served as an U.S. Army Chaplain. During his visit he met with both the Commandant of the Air Force Chaplain Corps College, Chaplain Colonel Steven Keith and the Commanding Officer of the Navy School and Chaplaincy Center Captain W. Kyle Fauntleroy, CHC, USN. He also met with Cadre of the Colleges, Ecclesiastical Endorsers, Air Force Chaplain Graduates and two Orthodox Chaplain Students from the Navy Chaplaincy Program, Lieutenant Junior Grade David Hostetle, a Priest of the Greek Orthodox Church and Lieutenant Junior Grade Anthony Westerman, a Subdeacon of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.