Day of Prayer, Support for Families of Troops to be Held

 By Colleen Rowan WHEELING— Families of active military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and veterans of these wars have the opportunity to come together in consolation at a day of prayer and support at Paul VI Pastoral Center in Wheeling Oct. 22. The gathering will feature Msgr. Patrick L. Fryer, a retired Navy and Marine Corps chaplain and pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg, who will present the talk “When a Family Member is Asked to Go to War for His or Her Country.” Msgr. Fryer enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school and, following his ordination to the priesthood, went back to serve as a Navy and Marine Corps chaplain. Msgr. Fryer; Father W. David Nestler, OFM Cap., director of the pastoral center who organized the gathering; and John Looney of the Wheeling Veterans Center will be present to talk with attendees, listen to their stories and facilitate discussions. The gathering will begin with a morning prayer service followed by an introduction of attendees, who will be able to talk about their loved ones and where they are serving. A period of reflection and quiet time will then be held and will be followed by lunch. After lunch, Msgr. Fryer will begin his talk. The day will end with a holy hour of prayer for peace. Father Nestler said he wanted to offer the gathering to help families through the trials of separation from loved ones serving their country. “I was just looking for a way to say that the Catholic Church cares and wants to help you through a very difficult time,” he said. Through the gathering, attendees will be able to share time with others who have loved ones serving overseas and talk about any difficulties they may be experiencing with that separation in a supportive, caring environment. “They will get consolation that they are with people with the same situation,” Msgr. Fryer said. “They come together and they talk, they find out that their problems” are the same that others are facing. Msgr. Fryer commended Father Nestler for organizing the gathering and said that he is always praying for military personnel. “Every Mass I celebrate,” he said, “I always remember our deployed military men and women and their loved ones.” The people of his parish, he said, appreciate this. For more information about the gathering, call the center at 277-3300.