New to the Fleet: Base Administration’s Spiritual Advisor


2Lt Jamie Boparai
Base Administration

Formation Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel (Padre) Lisa Pacarynuk believes that spiritual and religious support is a key part of increasing the resilience of military personnel.

“When people know they are supported and that they have a greater purpose in their service, they are more effective in their own work. So, I believe that chaplains contribute to the operational effectiveness of personnel as a whole.”

She is only a month into her first tour with the navy, overseeing the spiritual and religious support within the naval environment; however, she has made her rounds throughout Canada’s defence community and the Royal Canadian Chaplin Services. She and her family have been posted seven times throughout her military career that started in 2000.

She has served as Chaplin in both the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force, and held team leader and staff positions in Ottawa.

She also has the role of advising the leadership of both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Chaplain General on the provision of services, ensuring that units have chaplain coverage, and that chaplains are operationally ready to respond to the needs of the community.

“I have a team of eight chaplains, half of whom work with the Fleet and the other half who support Base Services. I am responsible for ensuring their career development and ensuring they have the resources they need to fulfil their roles.”

As with all areas of the base, the persistence of COVID-19 has added additional challenges to chaplain services and how they conduct business.

“We have certainly modified our Christian Sunday services by limiting people, increasing cleaning, and ensuring one-way traffic. We still want to ensure people know we are there for them if they need us even though we need to reduce our unit visits.” 

The resiliency of the Chaplin Service is no different than the remainder of the Canadian Armed Forces; they always find a way to achieve what needs to be done. When pressed on the traits required to fulfil this type of role, LCol Pacarynuk believes that you “need an open mind and heart, and a willingness to listen and walk with people where they are.”


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