Bishop Spencer Arrives in Afghanistan to Spend Advent and Christmas with Troops

Will celebrate confirmation of six soldiers during pastoral visit

On board a C-17 USAF jet traveling to Afghanistan: Col. Mike O'Hara, Grand Marshal, Sovereign Order Saint John, Knights of Malta (left), and Bishop F. Richard Spencer.

On board a C-17 USAF jet traveling to Afghanistan: Col. Mike O’Hara, Grand Marshal, Sovereign Order Saint John, Knights of Malta (left), and Bishop F. Richard Spencer.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Excellency, the Most Reverend F. Richard Spencer, Episcopal Vicar for Europe and Asia of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), arrived Monday in northern Afghanistan, where he will spend Advent and the Christmas holidays ministering to United States and multinational NATO troops as well as U.S. State Department staffers. During his pastoral visit, Bishop Spencer will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for six U.S. Soldiers who have been preparing over the past few months to be received into the Catholic Church.

Bishop Spencer said:

“It is a very humbling experience for me to join these brave military and State Department personnel during this holy season of Advent as they engage in an international effort to reduce outbreaks of terrorism that threaten both the people of Afghanistan and the people of good will everywhere. Spiritual fitness and resiliency are key tools for our personnel serving ‘God and Country’ in these peace-building efforts, which will hopefully contribute to a better world, just as we prepare the way in our hearts for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, during this holy season. I am thankful, by God’s grace, to be able to make a small contribution and sacrifice to that worthy cause.”

Bishop Spencer is one of four auxiliary bishops serving under His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services. The AMS is the only jurisdiction of the Catholic Church responsible for endorsing priests for on-site ministry at more than 200 locations throughout the country and around the world to Catholics and their families in the U.S. armed forces, VA Medical Centers and overseas civilian posts. Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 million Catholics depend on these priests for counseling, access to the sacraments, and other forms of spiritual support. The AMS receives no funding from the government and has no parishes to support its work with weekly donations. The AMS depends on grants and donations for survival. For more information, visit http://www.milarch.org.