CLT airport chaplains begin new program
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CHARLOTTE--Pittsburgh residents Michael Ditoro and his wife are on vacation, and as they make their way to Myrtle Beach, they spent their layover attending the early mass.
"When we came in, my wife heard an announcement on the intercom about the mass, and we were looking for a place to go to mass this morning, so here we are,” said Ditoro.
The Sunday morning mass and interfaith services are just one of the many things the 19 chaplains offer to airport employees and passengers.
"We basically are here to support the people who work here as well as the passengers, should they have a need for some spiritual help, some spiritual support,” said Deacon George Szalony.
And just two months ago, they added yet another new program.
"To make ourselves more accessible, what we've done is all of the duty chaplains, whoever's on duty as a shift, carries a cell phone now so that employees who work in the airport can call and reach us if we're needed at a gate or we're needed in the airport,” said Szalony.
They say it's a large airport, and with only one chaplain on duty at a time, they need the help of others to let them know when they're needed.
"The good news is, it's only been used once. If somebody's going to call us, it's because there's an issue. So the best news is that the cell phone never be used,” said Szalony.
It's something that's reassuring to passengers, who say it's a great service.
"If you're in a public place and you're upset, you probably need some kind of help, someone to hold your hand and that's what we're here for,” said Szalony.
"Because I have a lot of faith in my faith, so I would try to search, if I was having a big problem, I would really search for some help at the time,” said Ditoro.
Szalony says their three Sunday services, two masses and one interfaith, usually attract 50 to 70 employees and passengers.