"Catholic civil aviation chaplains and members of the airport chaplaincy at the service of integral human development" is the theme of the 17th International Seminar dedicated to civil aviation chaplains and pastoral agents, which was held in Rome from 10 to 13 June.
Promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the event was aimed at encouraging the exchange of reflections and experiences to strengthen a common vision of the tasks and competences of the pastoral operators involved: over 140 people all over the world, including priests, deacons, female religious figures and lay people involved in the pastoral ministry of civil aviation, in 92 Catholic Airport Chaplaincies. In this context, the apostolate of airports intends to ensure the Christian witness, the proclamation of the Gospel and fraternal presence for all those who travel through or work in airports.
After the introductory greeting by Card. Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery that organized the event, participants were received in audience by the Holy Father Francis, and at the end of the meeting they attended a Mass on the tomb of Pope John Paul II.
During the three-day seminar, participants discussed roles, functions and competences of chaplains, religious and lay pastoral agents, and the methods of action of pastoral airport ministry.
The meeting also focused on the possible collaboration with airport authorities, local Church, local charities, bodies and representatives of other Christian Churches and other religions, to respond to the many forms of poverty that revolve around the world of airports: migrants, homeless people, political refugees and prisoners. There were also moments of spiritual reflection.