VICENZA, Italy (Sept. 6, 2019) - A one-of-a-kind Army facility opened at
USAG Italy's Vicenza military community this week with a dedicated staff of professionals intent on boosting spiritual faith and resiliency of Army
Soldiers and their families.
"This space is important for our community because previously, all our
religious education and faith formation programs happened in one large
chapel-activity room and it was just too cramped to meet the needs of our Soldiers and families," said Dr. Grace Yeuell, Religious Education Program Director.
According to Yeull, there was a great need and demand for new space. So far this year, more than 11,375 community members took advantage of more than 200 classes per quarter in 20 ongoing religious education programs. A large room with four wall dividers was literally bursting at the seams for more space. More importantly, a community quality of life survey measured emotional health where Soldiers and family members shared their concerns about the lack of spiritual services and lack of spiritual diversity.
Lt. Col. David Schnarr, USAG Italy garrison chaplain, told the crowd who
attending the ribbon cutting ceremony the important connection between
religious faith to resiliency. The role of a spiritual life center's
contribution to resiliency is as great, if not greater, than fitness or
medical facilities, but not many people see it that way.
"This is a place to build faith. Faith builds resilience. Not only does
research indicate a positive correlation between participation in religious
programs and overall well-being, but stories of Soldiers overcoming great
adversity in combat highlight the importance of faith versus strength. In a high operations tempo military community like Vicenza, the Religious Support Office (RSO), must be fully on our game, providing the best support possible for our Soldiers and their families, " said Schnarr.
Garrison Commander Col. Daniel J. Vogel helped the RSO staff cut the opening ribbon and thanked everyone who helped make the spiritual life center possible.
"This project was five years in the making. There is still some work to do,
but there's been a tremendous amount of work to get here. Special
appreciation for the volunteers who made this happen and also our department of public works team who seemed to work non-stop to get this done. Dr. Yeuell, the chaplains, and their team will certainly take this garrison to new heights," said Vogel.