Hyper-technological, readily identifiable, constantly available, expert in ecumenical dialogue and trained to face all situations, even critical ones. This is the new profile of the Catholic chaplain of civil aviation, delineated in the recently published Final Document of the 15th World Seminar of Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains and Chaplaincy Members, dedicated to them by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
The need to rethink the figure and role of the modern civil airport chaplain is inspired by the great attention which today, in accordance with Benedict XVI's precise instructions, is focused on the New Evangelization. And this is what inspired the week's work of the Seminar. “Airport chaplaincy” the Document says, “is an important ministry and pastoral outreach of the Church that contributes to her vital presence not only in airports but in society as well. It needs recognition and support as such by those responsible for the structure and organization of the Church's mission”.
The special situation of airports, which have a considerable number of people, both permanent and in transit and from the most varied cultural origins effectively demonstrates the great potential of the chaplain for the New Evangelization.