Rosario “Roz” Picardo is a young, innovative, effective leader in The United Methodist Church. As an ordained pastor, author, podcaster, UTS faculty member, and highly successful church planter, he is in much demand, especially as a coach among church start-ups. But what is little known about Roz is that he served for nine years as a Navy chaplain in the Marines and Navy Reserves.
Earlier this year, in a meditation published by The Upper Room daily devotional (Jan. 13), Roz shared some heartbreaking disappointments he had during his senior year of college, among those being delays with his commission and deployment; and he asked our readers to pray for military chaplains. We reached out to Roz to learn more about his experience as a Navy chaplain and what he considers to be the greatest spiritual need of our U.S. Service Members.
“Connection,” says Roz, “is the main spiritual need of men and women in uniform. Connecting with them through conversation, listening, and invitation is vital to their spiritual health. For military chaplains, the best way to do this is through practicing the ‘ministry of presence.’ Presence is everything ... to be able to relate to Sailors, Marines, Airmen/women, and Soldiers.”
Authentic connection is true of Roz’s ministry as a church planter. As the founding pastor of Mosaic Church, a large multi-ethnic, multi-national congregation in Dayton, Ohio, Roz often says that what is needed is “feet on the street” and leads his team in getting out into the community.
Another parallel in Roz’s ministry as a military chaplain and as a church pastor is his use of The Upper Room daily devotional. Being a firm believer in the importance of daily practice, Roz provided copies of The Upper Room to his Marines and Sailors; and many continue to find hope and encouragement through its pages today.
One of the beauties of the daily devotional is that it weaves us together all across the globe, reading and praying as one with God. Our military personnel especially need this bond of connection, because they are often separated from family and friends and sometimes are in utmost danger. When you give to The Upper Room Chaplains’ Ministry, you support the Rosarios of our day, the chaplains who are currently ministering to our U.S. Service Members. The devotional guides are given free to chaplains upon request and serve as a mainstay, a real source of connection and presence during times of isolation and uncertainty.
Your gift today will help to sustain and grow this donor-sponsored ministry, which currently distributes 45,000 copies each issue to chaplains, 270,000 copies per year. Requests for copies are ongoing, so we are grateful for your generosity and partnership in ministry.
When you give to The Upper Room Chaplains’ Ministry, you also support VA hospital and prison chaplains in their ministries.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.