Starting last April, Father Stephen McDermott, a Philadelphia priest and U.S. Army chaplain, spent a year ministering to the service personnel and civilians in Afghanistan. The priest was recently awarded the Army’s Bronze Star Medal for his ministry. Our photo gallery shows scenes from what he considers his far-flung parish. See our full story.
The commanding officer of Father McDermott, right, pins the Bronze Star Medal on the priest chaplain during a ceremony in Afghanistan.
Father McDermott monkeys around with a friend.
A Knights of Columbus council of Catholic soldiers and civilians supports the Catholic chaplaincy on the base.
Time around the campfire after Mass means opportunities for fellowship and talking about the Catholic faith.
It’s a good day for Father McDermott because cases of Tastykakes have just arrived from friends at Maternity B.V.M. Parish in Philadelphia. The quintessential Philadelphia treats will be given out at socials after Mass at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where the priest chaplain ministers.
Administering the sacraments on the battlefield, the chaplain wears full gear and makes use of camouflaged equipment.
Father Stephen McDermott, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a U.S. Army chaplain, surveys the landscape in Afghanistan, where he served for the last year, earning the Army’s Bronze Star.
Father McDermott, a captain in the Army, is armed with a leg brace to support his knee, while he spiritually supports a very well-armed soldier.
Preaching to the troops during Mass at an Army outpost in Afghanistan.
Wasn’t it supposed to be a desert? Despite what he might have heard about Afghanistan before his deployment, Father McDermott discovers the heavy snow in the country’s mountains during the winter.
Father Stephen McDermott, a captain in the Army, received the Bronze Star and citation from his commanding officer for meritorious service in Afghanistan.
For Mass during his “battlefield circulation,” a tour of small Army outposts, Father McDermott utilizes a stretcher for an altar and a medic’s office for a chapel to pray with the Catholics present.
After an evening Mass, soldiers join Father McDermott outside the interfaith Enduring Faith Chapel at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan to enjoy fellowship around a campfire.
A priest’s work is never done — but it’s all done with a smile.
Soldiers sit around the campfire singing songs and building community, thanks to the chaplain’s efforts.
Father McDermott and a “parishioner,” a soldier at Bagram in Afghanistan.
Father McDermott shows off a care package of goodies from friends at home that he will give out during socials after Masses on the base.
Father McDermott, right, stands with a soldier-colleague in Afghanistan.