Three Chicago area Chaplains elected to
Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Airport Chaplains
Fr. Michael G. Zaniolo, STL, CAC was re-elected
president of the National Conference of Catholic Airport Chaplains at the annual
meeting in January, 2011 at Miami. Deacon Phil Disparte, CAC, Associate Chaplain at O'Hare was elected Secretary and Fr. Bede Jagoe, OP, CAC, Associate Chaplain at Midway was elected as Administrative Board Member at Large.
A native of Chicago, Fr. Michael was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1988. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology degree and is a Certified Airport Chaplain. He was an electrical engineer before entering the seminary. His engineering background gives him an instant rapport with many airport and airlines workers. Modern technology is being incorporated into just about everything in an airport and airplanes. "This is an exciting time to be an airport chaplain," he said, noting that many people are also fearful about the future of the airline industry.
The NCCAC board members are Fathers Zaniolo (ORD/MDW), Philip Majka (IAD), Bede Jagoe, OP, CAC (MDW), Robert Susann, MS, CAC (MCO) , Glenn O'Connor (IND), Deacons Philip Disparte, CAC (ORD), and Dennis Jordan, CAC (MIA). Sr. Myrna Tordillo, coordinator of Human Mobility Apostolates for the USCCB is a liaison to the board. His Excellency, Most Rev. Jerome Listecki, JD, JCD, Archbishop of Milwaukee is the NCCAC Episcopal Liaison.
There are currently about 50 Catholic airport chaplains working in 30 airports around the nation. "Our plans include recruitment of new members, helping bishops to establish or expand their airport chaplaincies, and fund raising for the purpose of training and certifying priests, deacons and lay airport chaplains," Fr. Zaniolo said in his inaugural address.
Airport chaplains duties vary from airport to airport. Chicago has one full-time chaplain and several priests available to hear confessions and celebrate the Eucharist, as well as three deacons and several lay volunteers who assist at the twenty weekly Masses. "I hear confessions every day, said Fr. Zaniolo. "With 50,000 airport employees and tens of thousands of travelers passing through daily, the airport is fertile ground for ministry to anyone who needs to talk about what is going on in their lives."
Most airport chapels are interfaith and ecumenical, providing chaplains and services for Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, as well as a peaceful and prayerful space for people who practice any faith or religion.
For more information on airport chapels