Base Administration Profile: Capt Dominic Lafrenière, CD – Faith Community Coordinator


A/SLt Wen Guo
Base Administration

There was a seed of doubt in Captain Dominic Lafrenière’s mind when he joined the military to become a chaplain. As he ventured through his military training and chaplain courses at CFB Borden it remained a nagging worry that perhaps he wasn’t good enough. An instructor doused that concern in one sentence.

“When I first joined as a RESO (Reserve Entry Scheme – Officers) student in 2001, I was afraid I would be a poor chaplain because as an introvert I am on the quieter end. At the end of the course, the instructor said to me, ‘We have enough chaplains that speak regularly, we need more chaplains who listen’.”

So began his career as a Padre in the Canadian Armed Forces, which has led him to his current ministry as a Faith Community Coordinator at CFB Esquimalt. He is originally from Shawinigan, Quebec. His military journey began in 1999 as an Officer of the Cadet Instructors Cadre, and then to the Primary Reserve serving in the military chaplaincy as a student in 2001. He transferred to the Regular Force as a Military Chaplain at CFB Valcartier in 2012, with a degree in Theology from Laval University.

Military chaplains work individually and have a special chaplain commission that is different than a regular officer’s commission. They focus on the well-being of military members, which is a goal Capt Lafrenière strives to provide daily.

In his role as a Faith Community Coordinator, he oversees the Roman Catholic Our Lady Star of the Sea Chapel and its community. He presides over religious services, spiritual guidance, and provides administrative support to the Formation Chaplain. His role also includes taking care of those who want to share any aspects of their life.

“We are versatile, open to all spirituality, and are always open-minded, ready to listen, communicate, and help out.”

During the pandemic, it has been challenging for Capt Lafrenière to provide some services including counselling members and leading spiritual discussions and religious services. Despite these challenges, Capt Lafrenière still holds virtual Sunday services over Zoom as a way of bringing members together virtually.

“We are primarily religious leaders, but most of our work is to support the overall well-being and moral of our members through counselling and talk therapy. I am also proud to help our members effectively communicate with their chain of command and to bring up matters they are not comfortable with. I believe we can have the most effective, open, and supportive command when our differences are communicated and resolved.”

Capt Lafrenière looks forward to providing spiritual services and meetings in person again as he believes this provides better emotional support. He notes it is important to observe body language and subtle gestures to understand a person’s unspoken words.

The CAF represents the religious diversity of Canadian society with sacred space for members of non-Catholic and non-Protestant religions.

“It is increasingly important to be inclusive of all religions, faith and cultures” says Capt Lafrenière. “My priority and mission is to consistently promote a strong physical and mental well-being of all members, so they feel safe and comfortable at work and can carry out their specific duties as effectively and efficiently as possible.”


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