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Civilians Urged to Help Military Archdiocese by Praying for Vocations
By
Dave Jolivet
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009
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OSTERVILLE, Mass. (CNS)—The civilian population can help the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services by "keeping us in your prayers for more vocations to the chaplaincy," said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the archdiocese.

He pointed out that there are currently 285 active duty Catholic chaplains, a number that does not begin to meet the needs across the globe.

These chaplains bring the church's presence to each of the five branches of the service, and not just to the enlisted men and women, but also to their family members.

Archbishop Broglio made the comments at a fundraising luncheon in Osterville in the Diocese of Fall River. Sponsored by the Knights of Malta, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and others, the event raised more than $12,000 for the military archdiocese.

"Many people think the military archdiocese is funded by the U.S. government," he said.
"But that's not the case," he said, noting that the separation of church and state doesn't allow for that and adding that the military archdiocese is "funded through the generosity of others."

A highlight of the luncheon was a moving slide presentation by Father Edward McCabe, a U.S. Army chaplain, that showed a scene that has played out far too often during the last 10 years in the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Within 48 hours following the death of a U.S. soldier a memorial service begins for the fallen hero. The commander and close friends speak about the deceased. The Catholic chaplain offers a reflection, followed by music appropriate for the solemn occasion.

Then comes the most poignant moment of the service. The first sergeant begins roll call. He calls out the rank and last name of the first soldier on the list, after which the soldier answers, "Here, sir." The scene repeats itself until there is silence after a name is called.

The first sergeant repeats the call. Again silence. On the third try the first sergeant calls the rank, first and second name of the nonresponsive soldier. Again silence.

Following the third call with no response, a round of volleys are fired and then the melancholy strains of "Taps" fill the air.

Each solider comes to the sanctuary for a final salute to their fallen comrade, in front of a display of his or her picture, boots, weapon, helmet and dog tags.

Father McCabe described the life of a military chaplain ministering to U.S. soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and elsewhere.

"The role of a military chaplain has changed over the last eight years," said the priest, who noted that chaplains now go everywhere the soldiers go—staff meetings, recreation, Mass and the battlefield.

"As a chaplain, I've been to places I never would have had the opportunity to go. Every day has been a joy for me as a chaplain," he told the luncheon participants.

In his remarks, Archbishop Broglio also asked for prayers for himself and his auxiliary bishops that they wouldn't "collapse in our travels" as they visit the troops.

"Pray that we may fulfill the responsibilities given to us," he said.


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