GRANTHAM — The New Hampshire chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA-NH) held its annual fall meeting at Bistro Nouveau on Saturday, with about 65 members gathering for the meal and camaraderie.
The guest speaker was Capt. Jeff Paveglio, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, who has served as a chaplain in the New Hampshire Army National Guard.
He related that it took him seven years to become a chaplain. He said his dad wondered why it took seven years when there is only one book. “It was a lot more complicated and I had to learn a lot more than what was in the one book,” he said.
He told the story of a friend in the service who took his own life, and noted that 20 soldiers per day do the same. To combat high suicide rates, the devastating consequences of moral injury must be properly addressed, he said.
Moral injury occurs when a person feels he, she or others have violated the person’s sense of morality.
September is suicide prevention month.
Paveglio said military chaplains have two major responsibilities: first to provide religious support to the service members, and second to provide pastoral advice to the unit commanders.
The first, he said, includes helping soldiers bear the burdens of military service, including combat stress and being deployed away from home and loved ones.
The second, he said, involves how religion — not only the religions of the U.S. personnel but also the religions of the enemy soldiers — impacts the mission.Paveglio entertained several questions at the event until time ran out.