Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Destiny Cheek

BREMERTON, Wash. -The Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held a blessing of the ship’s chapel ceremony, July 2.

The ceremony began with each of the ship’s three chaplains saying a prayer and using holy water to cleanse the chapel.

“When you move into a new house or a new area, it is a common religious practice for people to bless the space by giving it to their God or whoever they worship to reclaim the space as a place for replenishing the soul and spirit,” said Cmdr. Michael Williams, Stennis command chaplain, from Kodiak, Alaska.

They also discussed CRMD’s role in Stennis’ mission and why what they do as a department is essential.

“We [CRMD] are important because we give hope and direction to Sailors in their time of need,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Paul Drachenberg, from Rosenburg, Texas. “We provide ministry to Sailors by utilizing training, mentoring and encouragement.”

The ceremony ended with a closing prayer and speech by Cmdr. Williams that encouraged the department to stay focused on the task at hand and always provide ministry and resources to Sailors and their families. Although this service is not a tradition, CRMD hopes to continue this blessing in the future.

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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