Archbishop Timothy Broglio Embarks on Holy Week, Easter Season Pastoral Visits with U.S. Military Personnel

To spend Paschal Triduum at West Point and at Annapolis before heading to the Persian Gulf for nine-day visit

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Paschal Triduum and opening days of Easter season will bring His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, on pastoral visits to some of his far-flung flock in the United States Military. Archbishop Broglio will celebrate Holy Thursday and Good Friday with cadets at the U.S.Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday with midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., before celebrating the 2:30 p.m. (EDST) Spanish Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Then on Easter Monday, Archbishop Broglio heads to the war-simmering Persian Gulf region for a nine-day stay with deployed service personnel in Bahrain, Kuwait, and aboard a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier.

Over the course of his travels, Archbishop Broglio will celebrate Mass, preach homilies, walk theStations of the Cross, and administer confirmation to those who have been prepared byCatholic U.S. Military chaplains and faith communities. They include adults to be baptizedand/or received into the Church after engaging in the year-long Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This will be Archbishop Broglio’s eighth (8th) visit to the Middle East since his installment as chief shepherd of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA(AMS), on January 25, 2008, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

In an Easter message to the 1.8 million AMS faithful worldwide, video-recorded in Washington before his departure, Archbishop Broglio calls on believers to be “troubadours of joy and heralds of hope in our world of the military and the Medical Centers administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs where there are so many concerns provoked by budget tightening, by downsizing, by the despondency that can lead to suicide, and by the lingering hardship of war and separation from loved ones. We draw our joy and hope not from external factors, but from the very faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humanity.” Archbishop Broglio invites the faithful in military communities to “Accompany me with your prayers. Be renewed in your missionary commitment. He is risen!”

Watch the video of Archbishop Broglio’s Easter message at www.milarch.org/Easter2015.

Here follows the complete text of Archbishop Broglio’s Easter message:

Dear Brother Priests,
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The Holy Father has declared an extraordinary Holy Year of mercy. Easter focuses on Divine Mercy. The first Paschal gifts are the Lord’s peace and the forgiveness of sins. Both are concrete expressions of divine mercy and represent some of the reasons that we can celebrate at this time of year.

After some weeks of a Church-wide retreat during which, marked with ashes, we sacrificed, fasted, engaged in more intense charitable acts, and made a more earnest effort at prayer, we have indicated our desire to die to sin and to rise with Christ. More importantly, He has told us that we can participate in His victory. “Do not be afraid.” Have confidence, because “I am with you!”

Pope Francis frequently stresses two concepts for us who believe: mission and accompaniment. We met Christ in the waters of baptism and we continue to grow in our understanding of that gift. The Holy Father asks us to open ourselves to a “renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ or at least an openness to letting Him encounter” us each day. (Evangelii Gaudium, 3.)

Strengthened by that encounter we bring the Risen Lord to others, because in virtue of our baptism, “all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples.” (Ibid, 120.) One of the conclusions of the conference of Latin American Bishops in Aparecida, Brazil was to reiterate the permanent state of mission for the Church. “There is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbors or complete strangers.” (Ibid, 120.)

St. Francis of Assisi had the same message: “preach the Gospel always. When absolutely necessary, use words.” I always remind those I confirm of that responsibility, which comes with adulthood in the Catholic Church. You and I are challenged find ways to bring the Easter victory and its corresponding message of salvation into a world, which is often indifferent, sometimes wary or even hostile to this life-giving message of salvation.

The Lord has emerged from the tomb and proven to us that sin and death do not have the last word. We are not condemned to mediocrity. In the waters of baptism He has made us partakers of His life. He has made us His sisters and brothers and daughters and sons of God our Father. That is the reason for our boundless joy and the impulse to share the message with everyone.

It is my privilege to greet you at this significant time of rejoicing and to spend some time thinking about how precious we are and how much we are loved. “Has not Holy Communion made us many times more sacred receptacles of Jesus Christ than the consecrated vessels which contain His Flesh and Blood in our churches? Unlike the sacred vessels, we do not merely contain this Flesh and Blood.” (Basil Moreau.) Rather, we become Whom we receive! That is a marvelous realization. It manifests our potential.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, let us be troubadours of joy and heralds of hope in our world of the military and the Medical Centers administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs where there are so many concerns provoked by budget tightening, by downsizing, by the despondency that can lead to suicide, and by the lingering hardship of war and separation from loved ones. We draw our joy and hope not from external factors, but from the very faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humanity.

God-willing, I will return to the custom of celebrating Holy Thursday and Good Friday at West Point and then welcome the Paschal Lamb at Annapolis Immediately following – during the Octave of Easter – I will travel to the Middle East and gather in prayer with the deployed in Bahrain, Kuwait, and aboard a carrier. The Easter joy will continue as I administer the Easter sacraments to those who have been prepared by chaplains and Catholic communities.

Accompany me with your prayers. Be renewed in your missionary commitment. He is risen!

Along with my Auxiliary Bishops, the priests, and staff of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, I wish you a blessed and happy Easter. May the Risen Lord fill you with hope and a joy that never ends!