|10/22/2013 8:45:00 AM|
Special collection for ministry to those in military services
Catholic News Service
Army chaplain Father Christopher Butera administers ashes to soldiers training in the field on Ash Wednesday earlier this year. Father Butera, who was deployed to Afghanistan in mid-August, is a priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Pa.
A special collection will be taken in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Portland in support of those who serve the spiritual and pastoral needs of those in the military. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a special collection to be taken every three years. The collection is to be taken on the Sunday closest to Veterans Day. This year the collection will be taken the weekend of November 9/10.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services was established by Pope John Paul II in 1985 to provide pastoral services to those in the United States Armed Forces. The AMS serves 220 military installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, the military academies and federal employees outside the boundaries of the United States.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services is organized in a different manner than other dioceses. It certifies the priests who will serve as chaplains in the various branches of the military. Once certified, the priest becomes a commissioned officer of the United States military, and is assigned by the Office of the Chief of Chaplains for the specific branch of the military in which he serves. The priest does not become a member of the Archdiocese of Military Services, but remains a member of his home diocese or religious order. Father Martin King, a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland, currently serves in active duty with the United States Air Force. There are 265 priests serving in active duty military service.
The pastoral services of the Archdiocese for the Military Services include the same ministries as provided in other dioceses: catechesis, young adult ministry, evangelization, family ministry, etc., and providing the sacraments. They serve in base chapels and in tents in the field of battle. The chaplains in the military find that they have a congregation that changes often as members move from one military assignment to another. This constant change provides a unique challenge to the chaplains.