Deacon Joe Cady talks to Southwest Airlines workers in this Dec. 2006 file photo. Chaplains like Deacon Cady at airports worldwide help pilots, airline workers and passengers keep their emotional baggage in check. (Ambria Hammel/THE CATHOLIC SUN)

If you’re traveling by air this Thanksgiving week or chauffeuring someone who is, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • If you missed a connection or have a little time before boarding, check to see if the airport has a chapel. Search by country or by airport city. They provide some inner peace amidst what can be stressful times. The International Association of Civilian Aviation Chaplains has a network of 200 airport chapels worldwide. Sometimes there’s communion services or a full Mass offered.
  • Bonus cities: I clicked on a few cities and learned that some are always open. Like Orlando’s chapel. It’s beyond the west security checkpoint (for gates 1-59), but if you’re holding a boarding pass, you should be allowed through, according to the airport.
    So is Phoenix’s chapel. It’s located before security in Terminal 4 (the busiest terminal).
    So is Denver’s. Communion service there is Wednesdays and Sundays at 12:30 p.m., but those times could be outdated.
    JFK offers one Mass a day Wed.-Sun.
  • Airport chaplains may be seeking out passengers in the terminal too. Part of their job is to help passengers and airport workers in distress. It might be through talking/listening/counseling. It might be through some sort of traveler’s aid.
  • By the way, about 70 members of the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains were in Phoenix in 2010 for its annual conference. They discussed stress  management, disaster response among other topics.
  • Also, while flying to or through Phoenix, check out some museum exhibits.  One of the artists on display as part of the Phoenix’s Zoo’s 50th anniversary exhibit is Audrey (no last name given), happens to be a third grader at St. John Bosco School in Ahwatukee (a Phoenix community southeast of the airport). She was one of 50 winners ages 3 to 16. The contest was open to all kids, not just participating schools.
    Not traveling to or through Phoenix? See page 5 of school newsletter to view her piece. It has a tortoise in the center and desert plants on each side. It will be on display through March 2013.