In August, Navy Reserve Chaplain Father Sean O’Brien left his post as pastor of Christ Our Hope Parish in Boonville, Forestport and Otter Lake to serve an 11-month deployment as Director of Religious Affairs for a U.S. military joint task force based in East Africa. I recently received an email from Father Sean, which I share with all of you:
Greetings to you from Djibouti, Africa. I hope this email finds you in good health and enjoying the winter. I understand that I am missing quite a bit of snow. Ah well, it’ll come again next winter.
I wanted to write to you to say hi and let you know that all is well. It is hard to believe that it has been 5 months since I left Christ Our Hope in Boonville when the Navy Reserve called me up for active duty. The weather here in Djibouti has cooled down. Our winter temps are 80s by day and mid-70s by night. Winter here won’t last long and I am told that by March the days will be back over 100 degrees. When I return in July I will be the guy in town wearing a sweater while everyone else has short sleeves, hahaha.
The holiday time from Thanksgiving on has brought a lot of people together and I have met a few Sailors stationed here from our Diocese. The first photo [below] is with Lt. Mark Tsigounis, whose family lives in Skaneateles and attends Mass there. The second photo is with Chief Thomas Brandt, whose family is in Binghamton, NY (my own hometown as well). What a small world.
Mother Church has brought us together, so many miles from home, and it is a great privilege to hear confessions, celebrate the Holy Mass and spend time with our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines (there are also Coast Guardsman and Merchant Mariners here). So, Katherine, wishing you and our families at home a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sean P. O’Brien
CAPT, CHC, USN
Director, Office of Religious Affairs