Rean Enriquez

Riding The Holy Helo
Chaplain Rean Frederick C. Enriquez, LCDR, USN

“The times when they come to you sad, you have a conversation, and they leave smiling...those are the immaterial things that satisfy ministry for me.”
— Chaplain Rean Frederick C. Enriquez, LCDR, USN

When Chaplain Enriquez drops in to celebrate mass, it can be quite a literal description.

There is a shortage of priests on Navy ships at sea, especially the small ones, and so Enriquez is often transported via helicopter. “Ministry is a lot of things. And one of the cool things I do is ride the holy helo,” he says. “God works in mysterious ways.”

He explains. “As a Catholic Chaplain, I go from one ship to another to celebrate mass. And I have a lot of mileage already.”

Chaplain Enriquez is honored to give rosaries to Catholic Sailors and Marines as well as non-Catholics and even nonbelievers, who often ask for them. “When I land, you can see their eagerness,” he says.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Chaplain Enriquez was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1993. He became a Navy Chaplain on July 4, 2001.

He has served the needs of the 1st Marine Division in Iraq and with Naval Support Activity Bahrain, as well as thousands of Sailors and Marines aboard the USS Essex and USS Makin Island.

“I’ve seen Marines crying…finding at least my presence to be a presence where they can feel at peace. Those are the things that say, This is why I’m here. I’m here for these Marines and Sailors who are sacrificing their lives for the sake of our freedom.”

With the Essex, he circumnavigated South America – from Mississippi to San Diego. He sailed to Hong Kong aboard the Makin Island. And during both trips, he helped organize community projects with underprivileged children in Chile and Hong Kong.

“Looking at the eyes of those kids, they were so happy to see us. We gave them some joy, not only because of our donated materials, [or] because of the repairs we did with their school, but more so because of our presence.”

Currently, he is serving at Naval Station San Diego.

Here To Care For All

“During deployment, sometimes Sailors and Marines don’t have access to a priest or chaplain of any kind.

They don’t look at me as a Catholic or a Protestant. They see me as a person whom they can trust. Somebody they can confide in. There are a lot of things they discuss, not only about faith, but personal things…family and other things that concern them.

Regardless of denomination, I’m there for them. And that’s the bottom line. It’s what the Chaplain Corps is all about. We are here to care for all.”

— Chaplain Rean Frederick C. Enriquez, LCDR, USN