To express their appreciation for Msgr. Brian McNamara’s service as chaplain to the Air National Guard, officials at the Guard’s base in Westhampton Beach recently arranged for the priest to take a private flight with aerobatic pilot Lt. Col. John Klatt, who was on Long Island to participate in the Memorial Day weekend air shows at Jones Beach. On May 28, Msgr. McNamara, the diocese’s director of clergy personnel, and Klatt departed from Republic Airport in Farmingdale for a 20-minute flight that included rolls and inverted maneuvers over the Atlantic Ocean. “We wanted to get him closer to God,” joked Master Sgt. Dickie Lochren, a recruiting officer who helped set up the event. Msgr. McNamara, who retains the rank of lieutenant colonel, has served as an Air Force chaplain for 24 years, including the past three years with the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach. Visiting the base one weekend a month, Msgr. McNamara ministers to some 500 Catholic service personnel, presiding at Mass, weddings and baptisms, in addition to hearing confessions and providing counseling.
Msgr. Brian McNamara indicates “all systems go” before the flight.