The Catholic University of America held a public screening of a forthcoming documentary last night whose 15-minute opening segment features a Catholic priest who is also a major general in the U.S. Army.

“CHAPLAINS” is a two-hour documentary by Journey Films that offers an engrossing and thought-provoking look at men and women on the frontiers of faith, according to a press release from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. The interfaith work of a chaplain provides comfort to a broad cross-section of people serving the country and eager for help and comfort.

The priest featured in the beginning is Fr. Paul K. Hurley, the Army’s new chief of chaplains. It was filmed while on deployment to Afghanistan last year. He heard confessions, counseled soldiers on spiritual matters, encouraged them in their service, and celebrated Mass. Fr. Hurley is a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston who underwent his formation at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. and has long served in the Army with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).

“This is kind of a dangerous place,” Fr. Hurley says in the documentary. “But still, what am I here for? Why am I wearing this uniform? I believe God has led me here and given me this mission to care for these people, to minister to them, and it is not going to happen by me sitting in one place.”

The camera follows the chaplain closely as he moves about Afghanistan by helicopter to remote posts on the weary frontlines of a more-than-decade-old war, pursuing his ministry to those who serve.


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“People who face mortality have a much clearer picture of what is important. This also gives them that comfort and satisfaction that their lives are in relationship with God.”

The documentary focuses on other chaplains in various settings including a motion picture retirement home in Hollywood, a poultry processing plant in Tennessee, a state penitentiary in Oregon, the U.S. Congress, at the hospital bedside, and even at the NASCAR racetrack.

“CHAPLAINS” begins airing nationally on PBS stations in November and will be available Oct. 1 on DVD.