Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

Northborough Pastor serves community and National Guard

May 19, 2020
Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

By: Liz Nolan

Northborough – Episcopal Church of the Nativity Pastor Chad McCabe is not only committed to his church community in Northborough, but continues his ministry as a chaplain in the Massachusetts Army National Guard 101st Artillery based in Brockton. He has been called to duty amid the COVID-19 crisis and currently is serving at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, where a high number of veterans have died of the virus.

McCabe is a veteran who served in Iraq and said he has a big heart for the military. His time with the National Guard gives him the opportunity to serve at the state and federal level.

“It’s not all about deploying overseas,” he said. “We help to respond to the needs of local communities. I am proud to be able to serve the veterans.”

McCabe feels that deployment has helped to shape him as a person.

“When you have seen a lot, you find a way to stay positive and more focused on the situation on hand,” he said.

McCabe feels blessed to have a congregation and family who is supportive of his service in the National Guard. He started at the Soldiers’ Home on March 14 and works five days a week. A typical day includes offering daily worship services to those of all and no faiths, making rounds, holding office hours for counseling, and checking in with nursing stations and patients. In addition to chaplains, the National Guard assists the medical staff and food services. 

There are very strict protocols to follow regarding wearing personal protective equipment and there is a decontamination process after each shift. 

McCabe said the difference between his role as pastor and National Guard chaplain is that he is reaching a larger audience outside of his congregation who may or may not have a religious tradition. 

The COVID-19 crisis has not only changed McCabe’s schedule, but it has also changed the Church of the Nativity’s services and programs. Live virtual gatherings on Sunday mornings are being held, as well as storytimes and music programs. Home outreach is important and includes communion kits being delivered to homes.

“The church building is closed, but the church is open,” said McCabe. “More folks are participating in worship than before. The Church is adapting to the environment. The Church will find ways to stay connected and to minister.”

Amid all the changes that COVID-19 has created, McCabe has noticed the positive outcomes.

“Closings happened at the start of Lent – a time we are called to slow down and be more intentional,” he said. “Storms pass. They don’t last forever. Focus on what you’re called to do at the moment and do your best.”

McCabe was called to serve as Senior Pastor at the Church of Nativity in the fall of 2016 and arrived in Northborough with his wife Karen and son Ethan. He was previously ministering in Denver, Co.  

Church of the Nativity is located at 45 Howard St. in Northborough. Additional information can be found at or by calling 508-393-3146.

This story was originally published by

Liz Nolan has freelanced with the Community Advocate for four years and enjoys writing about the people, organizations and events that are the heart of Northborough.

The Rt. Rev. Ann Ritonia

Bishop for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

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