This fall, the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services plans to hold its first discernment gathering for Catholic priests to encourage them to consider becoming military chaplains.
The archdiocese regularly holds several retreats a year for young men who are thinking about the priesthood and the chaplaincy, but this will be the first event of its kind for ordained priests, because there is a critical shortage of military chaplains.
“The need for Catholic chaplains is enormous. We have one-fourth of the military population and we only have 8 percent of the chaplain corps,” said Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the military archdiocese. “So there is a tremendous scarcity of priests. This does not apply to all religious groups, however. It really only applies to Catholic priests and perhaps to a lesser extent to rabbis, but otherwise most of the Protestant groups are covered.”
“For God and Country: A Call to Serve Those Who Serve” will be held Oct. 5-9 in Washington. Interested priests can apply for the all-expenses-paid gathering via the archdiocese’s website,www.milarch.org. It is open to priests already incardinated in a U.S. diocese or in a religious order and currently engaged in pastoral service.
Attendees will stay in a Washington retreat house and the agenda will include visits to Joint Andrews Air Force Base, which is just outside of Washington; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and Fort Belvoir and the Pentagon, which are both in Virginia. They will meet with military officers, enlisted personnel and other chaplains and have a chance to talk with them.
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