Chaplains (film)

**Update September 2021: CHAPLAINS has been renewed for another two-year cycle with PBS. It will air at least through November 2023.**


CHAPLAINS is a 2-hour documentary film that takes the viewer into the dynamic world of chaplains – men and women who represent their own particular faith tradition but are trained to be of comfort and support to everyone – religious or not.

With a tradition dating back centuries, chaplains today are on the front lines – often in the midst of life and death situations – where the questions are the deepest and the need for spiritual and pastoral care the greatest.

Read more at Journey Films. Documentary creator Martin Doblmeier also shared with the Lab his motivation for making this milestone film:

The CHAPLAINS documentary film came about because after doing films on topics of religion, faith and spirituality for more than 30 years I had many chaplain friends.  My hope was not only to give the wider public an experience of their work but inspire people to consider this extraordinary ministry for themselves. And the deeper I got into making the film the more my admiration for chaplaincy grew.

I met people along the way whose only reference for a chaplain was the character of Father Mulcahy on MASH, and others who were convinced chaplaincy wasn’t its own profession – all that was needed was to call a local clergy person and they could “act like a chaplain.”  If anything, the process of making the film opened my eyes to how demanding and specialized the chaplaincy profession really is.

Chaplains embody the confluence of the sacred and secular and do it in the most challenging, real-life settings imaginable.  They become the face of the divine when people most need to encounter God. And they often do it when the people they serve are at their weakest and most vulnerable.  One of my favorite lines in the film is spoken by the Chaplain for the US House of Representatives, Father Patrick Conroy, when he says: “nobody needs a chaplain until you REALLY need a chaplain.”

My hope is more people will discover chaplaincy as a path to nurture the sacred in their own lives, and in serving others, find a gift for themselves they never imagined.