As a Capuchin friar who ministers among the homeless, I find it misleading to portray chaplains as people who work outside of organized religion (“The New Search for Meaning,” March 14). St. Francis of Assisi was loyal to the Catholic Church, warts and all; you could say he was a chaplain, embracing lepers and reconciling with Muslims. By bringing mercy and peace to others, he revitalized Western Christianity. Likewise, chaplains today invigorate faith by practicing mercy and awakening people’s religious imagination.
Brother Anthony Zuba
I retired as an Army chaplain after 30 years on active duty. I never read an article that so accurately captured the immediacy of the chaplaincy. No one ever seemed to know how to explain its dynamics; Jonathan Fitzgerald has done it in this article. He helps the reader appreciate nuance in religion, spirituality, and diversity, and the fact that the best chaplains can “create” a relationship and a sacred space in the matter of moments — usually born out of urgent need and suffering.
Michael T. Lembke, retired chaplain (colonel), United States Army
Warwick, Rhode Island
I really connected with “A Big Predicament” (Miss Conduct, March 14). Given the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, I continue to have feelings of losing a year, experiencing the sameness of life (though I appreciate not being sick), and not knowing what the future will bring. Robin Abrahams’ comments are right on. She is realistic and pragmatic but also tells us we are in this “flotsam-filled sea,” and sometimes alone in it. We need to work on being comfortable with being alone, perhaps more than we were pre-pandemic. Life will change.
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