By David Lewellen
It took a long time, but more than 20 chaplains received their certificates in person at the NACC National Conference on Saturday.
“The path never stops,” said Fr. Richard Bauer, BCC, the celebrant for the afternoon Mass that honored the newly certified. “Either we’re moving toward the kingdom of God or we’re moving away from it.” And, he said with a smile, “it would be easy to relax and think that because we’ve got that BCC after our names, we’ve made it.”
Chaplains are particularly called, he said, “to make sure that all are welcome, as God welcomes. … There will be surprises in the kingdom of God.”
Following the cancelled conferences in 2020 and 2021, the weekend in Buffalo was the first opportunity for the past two classes to celebrate with their peers. The newly certified received their certificates from Sedona Montelongo, chair of the Certification Commission, and posed for pictures with Executive Director Erica Cohen-Moore and Board Chair Carolanne Hauck.
At the blessing from the congregation, “I felt so moved to be blessed by my colleagues,” said Anne Christensen of Tuscon, AZ. “It was very humbling and spirit-filled.” She was happy to connect with one of her certification interviewers and also a woman she mentored this past year.
“It’s a good feeling to achieve being board-certiied,” said Margaret Alokon of Perrysburg, OH. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to serve with confidence. It makes me feel authentic. I’m a happy Catholic chaplain.”