West Point Grad Ordained a Catholic Priest in Minnesota

West Point Grad Ordained a Catholic Priest in Minnesota June 10, 2024

WINONA, MN — Father Joshua G. Miller, (CPT), USAR, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and a candidate for U.S. Military chaplaincy, was ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, June 8, in his home Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN. The new priest plans eventually to serve as an active-duty chaplain in the U.S. Army providing pastoral care to Catholic soldiers and their families with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).

Father Miller’s priestly ordination was celebrated at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Winona through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Robert E. Barron. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Father Miller’s parents, Gregory and Karen Miller of Clear Lake, IA, were among those in the congregation.

Father Miller, 34, is a 2008 graduate of Waseca High School in Waseca, MN. In 2012, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geospatial Information Science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He went on to serve five years on active duty as a field artillery officer, completing deployments to Japan and Korea among other places, before going on reserve to pursue priestly formation.

The new priest completed his seminary education at Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Before going back on active duty he will spend the next three years honing his pastoral skills as a diocesan priest in his home Diocese of Winona-Rochester under the terms of his co-sponsored seminarian agreement with that diocese and the AMS. Once he completes his military service he will return to Winona-Rochester to serve out his vocation.

Raised Evangelical, Father Miller is a convert to Catholicism. “As a teenager,” he says, “I developed a love for theology and considered pursuing pastoral ministry. During this period, I also recall being inspired by the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 7 that more people remain unmarried to serve the Lord with an undivided heart. Years later, at the end of a long intellectual journey into the Catholic Church, the thought of the priesthood came to mind. I moved into the John Paul II House of Discernment in St. Francis, WI, where I learned anew how to pray, and in that process I discerned a desire for deeper and more intimate communion with the Lord, which directed me toward the seminary and the priesthood.”

The eventual service of Father Miller 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 82 Catholic priests on active duty and 53 in the reserves, serving more than 250,000 Catholic soldiers 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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