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Troops mark Holy Week in Afghanistan

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POSTED: April 8, 2013 11:30 p.m.
By Sgt. Ashley Bell/

U.S. Army Capt. William Cale, center, a chaplain assigned to the 20th Engineer Battalion, prays during an Easter service March 30 at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

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KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Hundreds of service members and civilians celebrated Easter with a Holy Week of services.
There were several services scheduled throughout the week into Easter Sunday, March 31.
“Holy Week is the culmination of the liturgical season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday,” said Maj. Tyson Wood, a family life/behavioral health chaplain in Regional Command-South. “Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and reaches its apex in the Sacred Triduum, which are beautiful and yet very complex liturgies. These liturgies require a lot of support and thank God for all the parishioners who give their time generously to make it all come together.”
“We truly starting planning for our Holy Week services two months before the start of them,” said Staff Sgt. Antonio Henderson, a chaplain assistant for 3rd Infantry Division. “I think our chaplain’s office goals were to ensure every military service member and civilian had every chance to worship in their style of worship, whatever it may be.”
Attendance at several of the worship events at Kandahar Airfield was large.
A Mass service Saturday had more than 200 worshipers.
During the mass, five Catholics received the Sacrament of Confirmation, six people were baptized and received into full communion with the Catholic Church to become members of the faith, and one person converted to Catholicism.
The Easter sunrise service had approximately 200 people in attendance. A sunrise service is a worship service that traditionally takes place outdoors.
However, due to the recent weather conditions at Kandahar Airfield, the service was moved inside, where soldiers and civilians still could participate in services.
The sunrise service featured scripture readings with the message being delivered by Lt. Col. Gregory Walker, the 3rd ID chaplain. The 3rd ID band provided musical performances.
“With the help of my fellow 56Ms, chaplain assistants, we planned, drilled and executed a flawless service that I feel everyone who was in attendance enjoyed,” Henderson said.

 

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