Fr. Craig Friedley, a 13-year veteran of the Air Force and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Queen Creek, now has an additional title. He was sworn in as chaplain for the Army National Guard and will minister to the 230 men and women of the 153 Brigade Support Battalion at the Papago military facility.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted witnessed the occasion at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
“I’ve got my work cut out for me and it’s going to be good,” Fr. Friedley said. “It’s an opportunity for me to tell them they are doing the right thing by serving God and country. Without our military, we wouldn’t have our freedom.”
Fr. Friedley said he spent time during August with the former chaplain who introduced the priest to people and told him what he could expect from his new mission. “We travelled to Fort Huachuca where the battalion is training on weapons,” Fr. Friedley said.
Fr. Friedley has an office at the Papago military reservation and a room with pews where he will be able to celebrate Mass. “I’m going to be ministering to everybody in that battalion, whether it’s saying Mass, counseling or talking to people about their faith,” Fr. Friedley said. “I’ll be there one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer.”
The 230 soldiers of the 153 Brigade Support Battalion have just completed their overseas deployment, serving in such areas as Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fr. Friedley on freedom and the military