Pope Benedict XVI encouraged military chaplains to promote holiness in the military in the midst today's challenges.
Writing on behalf of the Holy Father, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone sent a note in support of the military chaplains of Italy, gathered this week in Assisi for meetings.
According to the Italian bishops' SIR news, the cardinal wrote that Pope Benedict hopes that the work of the chaplains in the military will bring about a "renewed adhesion to Christ," setting the bar of "holiness as the high measure of Christian life in response to the new pastoral challenges."
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the new prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, also sent a greeting, reminding them that the effectiveness of the service to the Church comes from one's "personal and communitarian conversion," that of putting Christ at the center of one's life.
Interviewed by SIR as the meetings began, Military Ordinary Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi asserted that prayer is "the first service" chaplains can offer to the military family.
"Pastoral care," he added, "should never be a simple strategy, an administrative job, but (should) always remain a spiritual commitment."
The chaplains' conference is being held until Sept. 30 with the theme "Gospel announcement and prayer."