Loading
Catholic military archdiocese sees rise in priestly vocations
Capt. Carl Subler, chaplain, 5th Stryker Brig. Combat Team, 2nd Inf Div, celebrates Mass for Soldiers from 4th Bat, 23rd Inf Reg. Credit: Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan
Capt. Carl Subler, chaplain, 5th Stryker Brig. Combat Team, 2nd Inf Div, celebrates Mass for Soldiers from 4th Bat, 23rd Inf Reg. Credit: Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Archdiocese for the Military Services in the U.S. is welcoming a steady increase of priestly vocations after declining numbers in recent years.

The upcoming fall academic year will greet 31 new seminarians compared with 23 last year, 12 in 2009 and only three in 2008.

Father Kerry Abbott, OFM Conv. and director of vocations, noted that the rise in numbers is due to recruiting efforts as well as Catholic bishops around the U.S. agreeing to co-sponsor seminarians.

Fr. Abbott said that the archdiocese “is most grateful” for the bishops' support and explained that co-sponsorship involves a diocesan bishop accepting a young man as a seminarian who will then participate in the Chaplain Candidacy Program of one of the branches of the U.S. armed forces.

The process then requires a bishop agreeing to release the seminarian for service as a military chaplain after three years of pastoral experience as a priest in his diocese. When the priest leaves military service, he will return to the diocese.

“This is one of the ‘untold stories’ of the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the Church and those faithful fervently seeking to respond to the voice of God,” Fr. Abbott said in a statement Aug. 15.

The vocations director said he expects anywhere from five to 10 more men to enter seminaries next year, and that the archdiocese is currently processing hundreds of inquiries from prospective military chaplains.

He also said that the timing couldn't be better in light of the  U.S. armed forces experiencing a steady decline in Catholic military chaplains over the past 10 years as priests reach the military retirement age of 62. The number of military priests is down from more than 400 active in 2001, to 274 this year.

Statistics from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, show that nearly 10 percent of men ordained as U.S. Catholic priests over the past two years had previously served in the military with another 10 percent coming from military families.

“When you think about it, this makes complete sense,” Fr. Abbott said. “Both the military and the priesthood rely on a largely common set of foundational values, including a commitment to service, self-discipline and a higher calling.”

“So it should come as no surprise that so many of our seminarians come from a military background and a growing number are looking to go back to the life they know after ordination.”

Fr. Abbott said the influx of seminarians poses a “delightful dilemma” on how to pay for the 50 percent share of the students' five-year education. In just three years, the archdiocese’s annual seminary bill has climbed from less than $40,000 to more than $350,000.

The Knights of Columbus recently announced a new “Venerable Father McGivney Military Chaplain Scholarship” that will provide $200,000 a year over the next five years for the seminarians. The archdiocese is now in search of additional funding sources to make up the difference.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
22

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14