WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2014) -- St. Michael, the patron saint of warriors, was the topic of discussion during the St. Michael Medallion luncheon hosted by the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/U.S. Army Military District of Washington Chaplains Office at Fort Lesley J. McNair.
"We sometimes get so immersed in our daily office routines that we do not get the chance to come together socially and to enrich one another," said Chaplain (Col.) Gary R. Studniewski, JFHQ-NCR/MDW command chaplain. "This luncheon was simply meant to be an opportunity to get out of the office for a short time and bring the team together to build relationships, to share a meal, and to feed our souls and spirits as well."
The event was the first of a planned series promoting spiritual fitness around the command with the next being tentatively scheduled around the Thanksgiving holiday.
"A spiritual fitness event helps people to become more aware of blessings in their life and the source of blessings. This has the potential to deepen relationships and increase trust, engender hope and provide comfort," said Studniewski. "Everyone should pursue spiritual growth in order to strengthen their spiritual resilience and overall well-being. A regular spiritual fitness event helps people in that pursuit of spiritual growth, connectedness and balance."
St. Michael is often represented as an angelic warrior, fully armed with helmet, sword and shield. He may be standing over a serpent, a dragon or the defeated figure of Satan who he sometimes pierces with a lance. The iconography of Michael slaying a serpent goes back to the fourth century when Emperor Constantine commissioned a depiction o f himself slaying Licinius, represented as a serpent, at the Battle of Adrianople.
"This particular event was one way of recognizing the vitally important work we do in preparing to defend, protect and support our nation's capital, but also the acknowledgement that human resources are limited when confronting the prolific and powerful evil forces, not only in our world, but in the spiritual realm as well," said Studniewski. "The role of St. Michael as protector, as warrior, which is the view of both Jewish and Christian scripture, makes Michael a very appropriate patron for warriors in general and our Joint Task Force in particular."
More than 60 people from across the command attended the event held in the picnic area of historic Fort McNair. In addition to discussion and reflection on St. Michael, friends and colleagues also shared some time together by enjoying a catered lunch.
"The chaplain office did a nice job in preparing an attractive venue, a meaningful program and arranging for a great meal. The atmosphere was relaxed and it was a joy to spend some time socializing with our colleagues in a supportive, constructive environment," said Studniewski. "Everyone who attended the event was gratified and seems eager to continue a regular gathering to promote spiritual resiliency and connectedness."