Remembering Pascal Buma

Remembering Pascal Buma
A Letter from Our Spiritual Director, Dr. Rick Capezza

Pascal Buma

February 19, 1986-February 26, 2024

Update: The military death benefit has now been distributed to Carine. We are no longer collecting donations for her direct support. Please read on to learn how you can honor Pascal’s memory.

 

Around 6pm on Monday evening, February 26th, I received a phone call that one of our students at The School of Military Spiritual Formation, 2LT Pascal Buma, had collapsed and died while attending the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course (CHBOLC) in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  

 

Pascal was a chaplain candidate with the Oklahoma Army National Guard and had just completed his second of four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at The School of Military Spiritual Formation (SMSF). As Pascal served the state of Oklahoma, my home state, he held a special place in my heart. I didn’t know him as well as his supervisors, but I did interview him when he came into our program. We occasionally texted and emailed a bit, and his supervisors would give me updates on his growth over the course of his six months with us – growth which they described as “tremendous.” The thing that sticks out to me about Pascal was his general enthusiasm for life and his love for God. As I scrolled through our texts, I was unsurprised that his last text to me said, “I am grateful.” 

 

Pascal was born in Cameroon, and after coming to the US, he hosted refugees for the three-month transitional period while they waited to get jobs, helped transport people to and from church for services, and served as a worship leader. He has also started a YouTube channel sharing his worship music shortly before his death.

 

When Pascal entered our program, he told me that he had been waiting for years for his wife, Carine, to be able to immigrate to the US. She only recently arrived in the US around Thanksgiving and is with child.  

Pascal’s funeral is set to be held April 20, 2024, in Oklahoma City. We will update with further details as they are established. 

 

Since the military death benefit has been paid out to Carine, The Spiritual Care Fund is now refocusing on our organization’s stated mission of providing respite opportunities to spiritual caregivers. We have distributed funds to reimburse her pastor and other church members who helped her during the transitional period and in line with our mission, we hope to fund a respite opportunity for Carine at an appropriate time.  If you would still like to contribute to The Spiritual Care Fund, donations up to $5,000 will be matched in the Pascal Buma Memorial Scholarship through the month of March and aid military chaplains with no scholarships for chaplaincy training. Scholarships for Military Chaplains at The School of Military Spiritual Formation will henceforth be called “Buma Scholarships.”

 

If you missed our fundraiser and you would like to send something directly to Carine, you may contact her through her minister, Pastor John Ayamba of Gospel Open Door Church of All Nations in Oklahoma City.

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