Newly Ordained Priest Sets Sites on U.S. Army

Newly Ordained Priest Sets Sites on U.S. Army June 4, 2024

ATLANTA — Father Colin Patrick, (CPT), USAR, a candidate for United States Army chaplaincy, was ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, June 1, in his home Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA. The new priest, an Army veteran, former infantry officer, and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, plans to go back on active duty as a chaplain, providing pastoral care to Catholic soldiers and their families with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).

Father Patrick’s priestly ordination was celebrated at Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church in Norcross, GA, through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Gregory Hartmeyer, OFM Conv. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Among those in attendance were family and friends of the new priest. The deacon of the Word at the Mass, the Rev. Mr. Joshua Miller, is also co-sponsored and will be ordained a priest in Minnesota on Saturday.

Father Patrick, 34, is 2008 graduate of Norcross High School in Norcross, GA. In 2012, he earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Geography from West Point. He served as an active-duty infantry officer from 2012 to 2017, during which time he says his faith was challenged:  “My experiences in the army – from Ranger School to Afghanistan – challenged my ‘cradle’ Catholic faith, but it was ultimately this real faith in Christ that helped me get through the daily grind. Through these experiences, Christ confirmed my vocation and led me to seminary.” Father Patrick credits former West Point Chaplain Father Matthew Pawlikowski, CH (COL), USA (Ret.), for influencing his decision to become a chaplain himself: “Once he corrected a uniform infraction of mine while I was trying to see him for confession as a plebe. I knew from that moment I was meeting with not only a Holy man of God, but also a Soldier!”

This year at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois, Father Patrick earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree. Under his co-sponsorship agreement with the AMS and the Archdiocese of Atlanta, he will hone his pastoral skills as a diocesan priest in Atlanta for three years before returning to active duty, this time as a chaplain.

Father Patrick says he began to discern a vocation early in life. “From a young age,” he says, “my vocation to the priesthood was nurtured through the love and faith in Christ Jesus that I received from my family. Additionally, I always felt a deep sense of call to service, which was instilled through my parents’ care for the poor in our community.”

The eventual service of Father Patrick and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Army, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, the Army has only 84 Catholic priests on active duty, serving more than a quarter-million Catholic soldiers, reservists, and National Guardsmen spread worldwide, not counting their families whom Army chaplains also serve.

Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information at milarch.org/vocations, or may contact AMS Vocations Director Father Marcel Taillon at vocations@milarch.org or (202) 719-3600.

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