FATHER ROBERT SUSANN, M.S. IS APPOINTED TO GOVERNING BOARD OF NCCAC
Father Robert Susann, M.S. is appointed to the Governing Board of the National Conference of Catholic Airport Chaplains (NCCAC), http://www.nccac.us/AboutUs.htm. The organization’s president, Fr. Michael G. Zaniolo, STL, CAC is currently headquartered in
The following is provide courtesy of The Florida Catholic Newspaper. This story was covered in issue dated Dec. 18, 2009 – Jan. 14, 2010, and was written and photographed by Karen Osborne.
Airport chaplain serves travelers at OIA
Before he came to the airport, Father Susann studied at
Now, the world comes to him. “The airport is a wonderful ministry,” Father Susann said. “The basic premise is that the Church goes where the people are. I’m here because the people are here.” Annually,
Father Susann can’t walk more than 10 feet without saying hello to someone he knows — whether they’re TSA screeners, information desk employees, food service workers or police. “They call me everything: chaplain, Reverend, Father,” he said. “They bring me to God. You make a relationship with people. They know you support them and we have a lot of fun together. It is a community.” “Father Bob has become an integral part of the airport,” Lewis said. “When people are stressed, he always goes to visit them, to comfort them. We’ve had it all: major cancers, car accidents, difficult medical procedures. He goes to visit (employees). Everyone knows who Father Bob is.”
As airport chaplain, Father Susann likes to “be proactive” when it comes to talking with tourists — stopping people who look like they’re in distress, offering a listening ear and a blessing or two to people in the security line. He also hears confessions in the quieter parts of the airport. Every Ash Wednesday, he’ll spend hours giving ashes to travelers. As a priest, or just an unbiased third party, people often tell him they’re grateful for his presence. But in this noisy world, Father Susann said, sometimes that’s just what people need: someone who listens. “Travelers tell me stories they’ll tell no one else. They’re surprised to see me. I get this every day: ‘I didn’t know airports had chaplains!’ If things are going badly, or they’re under a lot of stress, my job is to be with people and help them pray,” said Father Susann.
The airport’s small interfaith chapel, located behind gates 1-59 in the main terminal, was built in 1983 as a place where people could go to escape from the hubbub of the airport, but Father Susann — its first chaplain — arrived in 2005. He keeps the chapel stacked with Bibles, prayer books and a place for people to write their intentions. Decorated with a stained-glass “tree of life” — a symbol that “we are all sons and daughters of Abraham,” according to Father Susann — the chapel also has a small sign pointing to