Soldiers celebrate Mass with Italians in Vicenza 090330
Soldiers celebrate Mass with Italians
By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa
VICENZA, Italy – U.S. Army officers attended a special Easter Mass Mar.30 at Monte Berico held in honor of Vicenza’s military and police units.
Italian Carabinieri from the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units, a key U.S. Army Africa partner organization tasked with mentoring international police officers for peacekeeping missions, invited the American officers to the celebration.
Chaplain (Col.) David Smith, U.S. Army Africa and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bill Phillips, USAG-Vicenza, were given a place of honor to the left of the alter.
“Bringing people together allows us to develop important relationships with the local community, so if we call upon one another when we need help,” Phillips said. “Having open channels of communication with local clergy can also provide our command with feedback on community-related issues that may arise.”
The Most Reverend Pietro Nonis, retired Bishop of Vicenza, presided over the service. Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Eric Albertson, U.S. Army Africa deputy chaplain and Chaplain (Maj.) Jose Herrera, U.S. Army Garrison-Vicenza, both Catholic priests, donned traditional robes and were part of the service. Catholic parishioners from Caserma Ederle took to the podium to offer sentiments in Italian and English during prayers.
CoESPU director, Brig. Gen. Umberto Rocca, senior Carabiniere and a U.S. Army Africa officer from Caserma Ederle stood elbow to elbow in the first pew. Local representatives from community and veteran organizations were part of the celebration, as were officers from local police and fire departments. Vicenza mayor Achille Variati and Prefect Piero Mattei also took part.
The basilica at Monte Berico, parts of which date back to 1430 A.D., sits on hill overlooking the city of Vicenza and the surrounding Veneto region. Before the Mass, U.S. Army officers mingled among Italian officers, enjoying cordial discussions along the walkways of the Piazzale dell Vittoria and on the basilica steps. After the Mass, U.S. Army chaplains took part in a luncheon with their Italian counterparts.
“This event was extremely successful,” Smith said. “Our interactions, both before and after the Mass, allowed us to deepen established relationships and build new ones. This strengthens bonds for future partnerships of this kind.”
U.S. Army photo by Rick Scavetta
United States Army Africa, Public Affairs
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