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Coalition personnel attend Easter religious services at Tarin Kot

Coalition personnel of different religious faiths celebrated Easter by attending church services at Multi National Base, Tarin Kot.
Coalition personnel of different religious faiths celebrated Easter by attending church services at Multi National Base, Tarin Kot.

Coalition personnel of different religious faiths celebrated Easter by attending church services at Multi National Base, Tarin Kot.

Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU) Padre, Damien Ellis said it was important for personnel to maintain their religious faith while they are deployed.

“Australian personnel are not known for being overtly religious,” Padre Ellis said.

“Although during Christmas and Easter it’s apparent they attend services to make a connection with their families at home, who are doing the same thing there.”

The Easter services began with a Stations of the Cross walk around the Tarin Kot base on the night of March 27.

Participants took turns carrying a wooden Cross stopping at locations around the base to hear readings about Jesus’ journey during his crucifixion.

For the remainder of the Easter week services were held by all denominations in the base Chapel known as the Ghan Chapel.

One member of CTU, the XO Major (Maj) Paul Prickett chose to make his Confirmation into the Catholic Church during the Easter Saturday night Vigil Mass.

“I took the step from being a person who attended Catholic Mass with my family, but was not confirmed within the Catholic Church,” Maj. Prickett said.

“I made the commitment to become a full member of the church and it was quite uplifting and emotional for me to do it here in Afghanistan.”

Maj. Prickett said he decided to make his Confirmation on his deployment while he was in Kandahar, before moving to work at Tarin Kot.

“I had considered making my Confirmation at the end of last year, but I deployed to Afghanistan,” he said.

“When the opportunity arose I spoke to Padre Ellis and decided to be confirmed at Easter.”

Being confirmed into the Catholic Church was not the only milestone for Maj. Prickett during his deployment.

“I flew out of Australia to deploy here on my 55th birthday and on January 17 it was 40 years ago since I joined the Army,” Maj. Prickett said.

“Also as my father was in the British Army, I was baptised in a military environment and my birth certificate is a British Army certificate.

“The fact I’ve been committed to the Army for so long, for me my Confirmation here on operational service was the culmination of all of these life long events.

“I believe there’s a meaning and purpose to why I’ve chosen to do this at this time in my life.”

Padre Ellis said the main message for deployed personnel and their families was to not give up hope.

“We should all trust in each other and part of what we do at Easter was to retell the gospel story. So what personnel and their families should do is retell the love they have for one another,” Padre Ellis said.