Wing and a prayer
ACatholic priest who was a personal friend of the late Pope John Paul II is the new chaplain of Washington Dulles International Airport, where in this unsettling age of terrorist-targeted travel more and more faithful are kneeling down to pray.
“I had a full chapel last Saturday at the vigil Mass,” the Rev. Philip Majka tells Inside the Beltway, adding that when he isn’t celebrating the liturgy (the chapel is located in Terminal B, near Gate 30) he is often roaming the sweeping airport complex.
Clad in his priestly collar and sporting an official ID badge, “people often approach me,” the priest notes. “I’m getting to know the police, airport workers, and I visit with the travelers [. . .] wishing them a bon voyage” (and no doubt offering up prayers and reassuring words in the process).
“And I can go through security without taking off my shoes!” Father Majka boasts. “Maybe that’s going to change, who knows? I have a challenge right now of how to get a bottle of wine through [security]. I have to have the Mass wine, you know.”
Like the late pope, Father Majka, a longtime priest in the Diocese of Arlington, has Polish roots. He first met then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1969 when he was selected to be his Washington guide, accompanying the future pope to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and to Arlington National Cemetery, and along the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria, which reminded the cardinal of his hometown in Poland.