Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM) announced today that the installation’s Command Religious Program will open its doors and resume services starting Oct. 4.
Although regular church services onboard NSAM have been suspended since March, installation Chaplain Cmdr. Mark Giralmo and Father Dominic Castro are ready to commence both Protestant and Catholic congregations, despite the fact many of their regular attendees have moved out of the area and Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) students remain in a virtual learning environment.
“We have been busy and have had to do things differently,” said Giralmo. “Chaplain services at NSAM have changed from a traditional religious services approach to being on the telephone or online with people in a Zoom or Teams.”
Both pastors have made themselves available to people in need of spiritual support. Giralmo said his first message to his congregation is appropriately titled, “Whose hands are you in.”
“As we continue in a COVID environment, we see this as key to helping people deal with ongoing loneliness and restrictions,” he said. “There is an even greater need right now because of fear, uncertainty and the issues that drive contentment and happiness.”
In addition to helping people with domestic issues that arise from being stuck at home with a spouse or kids, they have seen a rise in anger management problems, depression and self-medicating leading to substance abuse as well.
Giralmo said reopening will be like planting a new church. Part of that challenge is there will be no fellowship hour or childcare provided, services that under a normal, non-COVID environment often strengthen the fellowship of a congregation.
“Through worship and prayer, we will provide real, relevant and relational messages that help people apply biblical principles to how they are living today,” he said. “The service may look a little different, but the objective will be the same.”
Both Protestant services and Catholic mass will last approximately 60 minutes. The pastors are requesting that people arrive 30 minutes prior to the service in order to ensure adequate time for COVID-19 screening.
Castro, or Father Dom as he is called, has worked for more than nine years as a contract priest at NSAM. He has been providing mass, counseling and sacraments to NPS students, staff and faculty.
“There will not be a regular weekday mass until students are back on campus,” said Castro. “But I’ll provide sacraments and counseling upon request.”
Both men plan to ensure the chapel meets the highest standards of cleanliness and safety, which will include temperature checks, questionnaire, mandatory facemasks, spacing every other seat in the pew and deep cleaning after services. In addition, the chapel will be at no more than fifty percent capacity to adhere to social distancing mandates.
“Sunday services are about five percent of what we do on a weekly basis and are an important part of the pastoral duties we perform,” said Giralmo. “We have no idea how many will show, but we are anticipating a good group to attend. The Sunday service is open to all.”
The NSAM chapel will restart Catholic services at 9:00 a.m. and Protestant services at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM) was established in 2010 to provide base operation and support for Navy commands on the California Central Coast. Home to over 15 tenant commands, NSAM provides primary support to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Navy Research Lab (NRL) and the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC). NPS is the largest producer of advanced graduate degrees for the Department of Defense and proudly graduates thousands every year from all services and from over 50 countries. NRL provides all scientific and weather modeling as well as atmospheric and aerosol studies. FNMOC provides the highest quality, most relevant and timely worldwide meteorology and oceanography support to U.S. and coalition forces.
|Date Posted:||09.24.2020 15:12|
|Location:||MONTEREY, CA, US|
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