In the early hours of
the 24th March our friend, and former Vice President and former Senior Chaplain
at London Luton, the Rev Michael Banfield, passed away. Throughout his life Michael
was a faithful servant of God and has now been called to Glory.
was a member of the IACAC Board and Vice President from 2008 until 2013. He
contributed much to the life of the Association and was instrumental in writing
and setting up access to airport chaplaincy training and development materials
online. He was passionate about airport chaplaincy and worked tirelessly to
promote and encourage new chaplaincies. Wherever he went in the world he
visited the airport either in support of the chaplain or to learn more about it
as a prospective site for a new chaplaincy.
In the night of the 16th of March Fr. Silvano Sirtoli, former Chaplain (2007-2018) of Bergamo Int. Airport (Italy) passed away at the age of 59 frormCovid-19. We entrust him to the Lord asking him to intercede for each of us and for our communities.
I thought it would be easier to describe the effect the
Covid-19 pandemic is having on the
Italian Civil Aviation Industry. Unfortunately, even among airport employees, we are beginning to count those who have died and those who have fallen
ill due to this
virus, and this deeply touches the souls of us
Looking back, we can now recognize how our pastoral ministry at the airport provided us with insight on the situation, allowing us to predict what would happen in reality. During some recent media interviews, I liked to compare the airport to a beehive, a symbol of industriousness and vitality. When the beekeeper sees that the hive is emptying and the bees are no longer returning, he immediately understands that something serious is happening, or is about to happen.
As an association we owe much to Fr Xavier, chaplain at Brussels Airport, who during 1961 met with Fr Steux from Orly Airport in Paris. Their idea was to bring together those engaged in airport ministry with the aim of mutal support and encouragement. As a result of their discussions ten more chaplains met in Brussels in 1967 and the foundations for the IACAC were laid with their decision to meet annually. They called themselves the Airport Chaplains International. Every year since then, except in 1985, airport chaplains from around the world have come together to share fellowship and learn from each other.
The chaplaincies at Paris Orly and CDG airports have come through a number of changes this past year. Starting with the last one, Anniel Hatton, Protestant Chaplain at Orly retired on 30 June. She served 10 years as an airport chaplain,1st at CDG and then at Orly since October 2013. Her ministry was greatly appreciated by both passengers and staff. Previous to airport chaplaincy Anniel was a pastor in several Baptist churches in France together with her husband William. She also served as a hospital chaplain. Anniel was a pioneer in advocating and living women’s ministry in Baptist churches in France. Anniel has been succeeded at Orly by David Gonzalez, a reformed minister who enthusiastically joined the team as a full time chaplain on 1 July.