Chaplains important figures of the CAF.
THANKS FOR THE interview with former Chaplain General Padre Karl McLean back in December 2012 (Volume 19 Issue 11). In our secular times, we often forget the important role which chaplains ("padres") play in military life. Whatever one's beliefs, the padres are there to help and support CF members, not just on spiritual matters but on morale and welfare concerns. When at sea, and following the pipe "hands to supper," I often found the padre helping out on the meal line.
Historically, there have been many chaplains who have distinguished themselves while their units were under fire. The first Canadian chaplain to earn the Victoria Cross was Presbyterian Padre John Weir Foote of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI) during the raid on Dieppe, on August 19, 1942.
Padre Foote helped out the medical team by carrying casualties to the first aid post. Later, he assisted the evacuation of the wounded to the landing craft carrying them back to the ships. He also chose to stay behind with the personnel who were taken prisoner, and then played a key role in keeping up the morale in the POW camps. The play Padre X has been written about him.
Along with the chaplains, there are formal and informal fellowship groups that the various faiths have organized in the Canadian Armed Forces. I have been involved with Military Christian Fellowship (MCF) for years. We organize events such as Bible studies and prayer breakfasts.
Thank you for your service Padre McLean and God bless you.