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Airport chaplains in more than 30 countries want to help you when traveling


In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, when flights increase almost 25 percent during Christmas, it's good to know there are priests in airports in at least 30 countries around the world, ready to assist travelers as they pass through. 

GEORGE SZALONY
Executive Director, Airport chaplaincy at Charlotte Airport

“We help people. We reach out to people running from airplane to airplane, or airplane to home, who have some type of hurt and we try to bring and apply as much healing balm as we can certainly through the power of the Holy Spirit, because of course there are both of us who are ordained and not ordained, but we all are very committed.”

Those in the United States are also a part of the Fallen Soldier Program, which helps when loved ones die as a result of military service. The chaplains help serve those experiencing divorce, leaving for college, the lonely and also notify many passengers when loved ones die. Thus, they are often the shoulder to cry on during the initial grieving stage. 

GEORGE SZALONY
Executive Director, Airport chaplaincy at Charlotte Airport

“When we help someone, their thanks is so sincere, it is literally overwhelming. It's of the moment, it's in the moment and that's our life. Many, many times we will never see the person again, but we are healing and reaching out to people who are hurting.”

Most global chaplains belong to the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains (IACAC), which joins leaders from many faiths to serve those who work or travel through airports. Their next annual meeting will be in Charlotte, NC in 2018.

Szalony says whether or not those traveling believe in God, the mission of all airport chaplains around the world is to bring God's joy to everyone they come in contact with, at least until the final boarding call.