Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

Role of military chaplain shared at program

The memory of those who served in the nation’s military was recalled on Monday as residents paused for the annual Memorial Day services here. The program took place at 11 a.m. at Osmond Community School gym. It was conducted under the auspices of American Legion Post 326 and its auxiliary. Also participating were members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7838 and its auxiliary.

Giving the Memorial Day address was Father Mark Beran, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wayne and Coordinator of Catholic Campus Ministry at Wayne State College. A priest for 12 years, he also has served in Omaha. In 2004, he became a Nebraska Army National Guard Chaplain and, two years later, was called to active duty for a tour in Iraq.

He noted that he is probably the weirdest Memorial Day speaker the community has ever had, because he is now a veteran who served in Iraq who never even shot or carried a weapon; he was an officer who commanded no troops; that what he was is a service person’s chaplain. He believes that he got into the National Guard because the Guard was begging the bishop for a chaplain and, with him (Father Beran) being young and a track runner at Wayne State College, the bishop selected him. From his role as a chaplain, Father Beran emphasized that soldiers fight to keep our freedoms, all of which can be taken away except our faith. No way can our faith be taken from us.

His role as a chaplain was to promote the free exercise of religion,