BISMARCK The North Dakota Army National Guard welcomed a Catholic chaplain to its ranks in a ceremony held at Raymond J. Bohn Armory in Bismarck Tuesday.
Monsignor Chad Gion was sworn in and commissioned as a first lieutenant. He will serve as a chaplain assigned to the N.D. National Guard's Bismarck-based 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment (Security and Support).
"This is a wonderful day for the North Dakota National Guard," Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, N.D. adjutant general, said. "It's been seven years since we've had a Catholic chaplain in the North Dakota Army National Guard."
Sprynczynatyk noted that, with about one third of the state's soldiers identifying as Catholics, Gion's service is especially appreciated.
"It's important that we can strengthen our soldiers' faith, so that they are spiritually fit and ready to serve our state and nation in any capacity that they are called," Sprynczynatyk said. "Chaplains are truly a combat multiplier a source of comfort for the troops and their families."
Gion said he was happy to join the Guard, which he will consider his "fourth parish." Gion, who has been serving North Dakota parishes since his ordination in the summer of 2002, currently serves Spirit of Life in Mandan, St. Anthony in St. Anthony and St. Martin's in Huff.
"The responsibility of serving as a chaplain in the North Dakota National Guard is something I've been considering for a long time," Gion said. "I'm happy to finally be here. When soldiers are in need, or if they would like help in spirit or direction, chaplains are there for them. The North Dakota National Guard is committed to the spiritual wellbeing of its soldiers."
The Army and Air National Guard chaplaincy provides religious support to Guardsmen and is assists commanders in ensuring the right of free exercise of religion for all their members.