In the 3+ years that I’ve been here at Christ the King, I have been blessed to share my life and my life’s work with all of you. However, for the past five years, I have been heavily involved in a ministry that many of you may not know about: the Army Chaplaincy.
I first felt the call to this ministry before I even entered the seminary. While I was in high school, I heard several of my relatives speak about their Army deployments, and they often lamented the scarcity (if not complete absence) of Catholic Chaplains while they were overseas. It broke my heart to imagine so many men and women enduring danger without the aid of Mass, Confession, or spiritual guidance from a priest. As I progressed through the seminary, I learned that Holy Cross has a rich tradition of military chaplains, which began with Fr. William Corby, C.S.C. serving as a Union Chaplain in the Civil War. After much prayer and discussion with the seminary staff, I joined the Army Chaplain Corps in June 2014 and became a full-fledged Army Chaplain in June 2017.
I do not have nearly enough room in this column to describe everything I do as a Chaplain, but it is best summarized by the Chaplain Corps’ mission: to “Bring God to Soldiers, and Soldiers to God.” As a Battalion Chaplain, I travel to a nearby Army Reserve unit once a month and train with the soldiers there for a full weekend (and sometimes longer for field exercises). I have found great joy in celebrating Mass and Confession for Catholics out in the field, as well as providing spiritual guidance for soldiers who may not be Catholic (or even religious, for that matter). As an officer who has complete confidentiality with every soldier (regardless of their rank), I’m uniquely able to provide counseling to men and women who might otherwise be reluctant to share their spiritual and emotional burdens. It’s far different from anything I’ve ever done, but I’m grateful that God has invited me to this “call within a call.”
Regarding my future as an Army Chaplain, I am currently planning on going Active Duty (and eventually deploying) sometime in late 2020 or early 2021. If anyone would like to ask me more about this ministry, I am more than happy to speak with you about it. Please continue to pray for me and for all the men and women who serve our country. Pro Deo et Patria!