Chaplains have been serving the military community for a long time. Here is a bit of history to help you understand where the words that designate us come from.
The oldest documented military Chaplain is Sulpice the Pious, Archdeacon of Bourges, France. He was asked by Clotaire II (584-629), king of the Francs, to serve as Abbot in the royal military camp. His mission was to keep and show the troops the mantle (a chape, in French) of Saint Martin de Tours, who died in 397. In French, he was designated a chapelain (the one who keeps the mantle), which gave rise to the name of Chaplain. Having also to distribute to the poor the King’s alms (the aumône in French), this role gave rise to the French ever-used name of aumônier. How times have changed…
The word padre, coming from Spanish and Italian, is also used to designate a Chaplain. Padre comes from the word Pater, father, meaning the one who takes care of others.
By: Padre (Captain) Éric Généreux (Servir Newspaper)
Padre Éric Généreux speaks with a CAF member. (Photo: Yves Bélanger)