.- Bishop F. Richard Spencer of the military archdiocese arrived in northern Afghanistan on Dec. 5 to spend Advent and Christmas ministering to U.S. and NATO troops and U.S. State Department staffers.
“It is a very humbling experience for me to join these brave military and State Department personnel during this holy season of Advent as they engage in an international effort to reduce outbreaks of terrorism that threaten both the people of Afghanistan and the people of good will everywhere,” Bishop Spencer said.
During his visit, the bishop will also celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for six U.S. soldiers who have been preparing to enter the Catholic Church.
“Spiritual fitness and resiliency are key tools for our personnel serving ‘God and Country’ in these peace-building efforts, which will hopefully contribute to a better world, just as we prepare the way in our hearts for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, during this holy season,” he noted.
“I am thankful, by God’s grace, to be able to make a small contribution and sacrifice to that worthy cause.”
Bishop Spencer is the Archdiocese for the Military Services’ episcopal vicar for Europe and Asia. He is one of four auxiliary bishops serving under Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.
The archdiocese approves priests for on-site ministry at more than 200 locations around the world in order to serve Catholics and their families in the U.S. armed forces, medical centers and overseas civilian posts.
An estimated 1.5 million Catholics depend on these priests for the sacraments, counseling and other forms of spiritual support.
The military archdiocese receives no government funding and has no parishes to support its work with weekly donations. Rather, it depends on grants and donations for survival.
The archdiocese’s website is http://www.milarch.org.