- Sep 24, 2020
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services has commended U.S. military chaplains “who put their lives on the line daily to serve those who serve.” The archdiocese said that about 210 Catholic priests are currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. About four dozen of those priests serve in the Navy.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services is charged with pastoral care of Catholics in the military, in all five branches, their dependents, any Catholic who is a patient or a resident on a facility governed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and any U.S. Catholic who works for the Federal Government outside the United States. It is estimated 1.8 million Catholics are under its pastoral care, but it only has 208 priests currently serving.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio has formally closed the archdiocesan phase of the cause of canonization for Father Vincent Capodanno, a Maryknoll priest and Navy chaplain killed during a fierce battle in Vietnam almost 50 years ago at the age of 38. The chaplain was nicknamed the “Grunt Padre,” because of his personal care for and ministry to the “grunts,” meaning members of the infantry.
Previously, the U.S. military recognized just over 100 religions. The new list has grown to 221 to include the earth-based faiths, such as heathens and Asatru, and an additional eight Protestant groups, including the International Communion of the Charismatic Christian Church.
The mantra for military chaplains is that they nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead, all of which are skills honed as they serve alongside soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines or “Coasties,” the term for a member of the United States Coast Guard.