AMS Celebrates Catholic Priestly Ordination of Two Former Episcopal Military Chaplains

Ordination Masses celebrated in Germany and Guam on Saturday

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) is celebrating the Catholic priestly ordinations on Saturday of two United States military chaplains and former Episcopal priests, both entering the Catholic priesthood through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, established by the Holy See in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to enter the Church.

Father Joseph Francis Vieira, III, CH (MAJ) USA, was ordained in Grafenwoehr, Germany by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services.

Father Richard Rojas, Ch Capt USAF, was ordained in Inarajan Guam by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Anthony S. Apuron, OFM Cap., DD, Archbishop of Agana.

In his homily at the ordination Mass for Father Vieira, Archbishop Broglio said the faithful expect the new priest to “ignite a blaze of new evangelization as he is ordained in the Year of Faith.”

Addressing Father Vieira directly, Archbishop Broglio said:

“You will be empowered to nourish the community of faith with the most precious gift she has to offer, the Body and Blood of Christ. No one else can give it and so your contribution will be priceless. For the Army, the greatness of that gift is so appreciated, because it is in short supply. Every Catholic who has been deployed knows the value of what you and your brother priests alone can give. You will, to quote Karl Rahner, ‘lift the chalice with the blood that was redeemed and sanctified in the truth.’”

Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily.

Father Vieira, a married father of two, holds a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in December 1994 and entered Active Duty with the U.S. Army in July 1995.

Father Rojas, a married father of four, holds a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has been a military chaplain for eight years.

Father Vieira said:

“It is with great joy that I enter this next stage in my faith journey which has led me ever closer to the Throne of God, through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He established. I have been convinced of the veracity of the Catholic Church for many years, but until recently I have been unable to act on that faith. Through the grace of God and the beneficence of the Catholic Church I now have the privilege to serve God in the Church I love. I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis; and to my family, for their trust and unwavering support. I also want to thank each of the Military Catholic Communities which have nurtured me as one of their own for over thirteen years as I walked the line between the Catholic and Protestant churches. I have truly come home!”

Father Rojas said:

“I am overjoyed to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

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About the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is a national structure, similar to a diocese, that was created by the Vatican in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to become Catholic. Once Catholic, the communities or clergy retain many aspects of their Anglican heritage, liturgy and traditions. Priests must apply for ordination as Catholic priests and first complete an approved formation program.

Based in Houston, Texas, the Ordinariate includes communities throughout the United States and Canada. Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston is the principal church. Other large communities include St. Luke, Bladensburg, MD; Christ the King, Towson, MD; Church of the Incarnation, Orlando, FL; and St. Thomas More, Scranton, PA. Ordinariate groups and clergy are located in areas such as California, Iowa, Alabama, New York and South Carolina; Edmonton,Victoria, Ottawa and Calgary.

About the AMS:

The AMS was created as an independent archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers.

AMS-endorsed chaplains serve at more than 220 U.S. military installations in 29 countries, making the AMS the nation’s only global archdiocese. AMS-endorsed chaplains also serve at 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the U.S.

The AMS service population also includes American Catholic civilians working for the federal government in 134 countries, but currently, due to limited resources, the AMS cannot adequately serve this population.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend on the AMS to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs.

For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, visit www.milarch.org, the only official Web site for Catholics in the military and for the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, MM.