Spiritual Wellness and Morale on Operation

Article / November 25, 2022 / Project number: 22-0101

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I had the pleasure to join Op. NANOOK-NUNAKPUT from 14-29 August 2022. The operation comprised more than 140 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Demonstrating Canadian presence and sovereignty within the Arctic, Op NANOOK was tasked with establishing numerous observation posts along Canada’s North West passage and strengthening relations with Northern communities.

As a chaplain, my role is the care and support of CAF members as measured by spiritual resilience and wellness. I can say with certainty that this operation provided a big boost to the morale and spirits of the soldiers. They thoroughly enjoyed putting their training and discipline to effective use in the field. Despite difficult weather and high winds I have never seen troops more enthusiastic to be in uniform. During the two week operation we had the opportunity to visit each of the observation posts across the coast.

In addition to providing support for the professional development of Canadian soldiers, the operation afforded us the opportunity to experience the larger geographical and cultural diversity of our country. It helped to foster a spirit of awareness and connectivity with the various groups and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. An important aspect of this cultural exchange took place in Cambridge Bay’s heritage centre. There we were warmly welcomed by a group of community Elders who presided over the lighting of the Qulliq; a ceremonial event when an oil lamp is lit. The ceremony was a time of sharing of Inuit history, and blessings from different faiths were given over the soldiers.

I take great pride in knowing the morale and experience of the CAF members deployed on Op NANOOK continues to be cultivated by our ongoing presence in Canada’s North.

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