Catholic Lay Leaders in U.S. Military Complete Training on Evangelization and Faith Formation

90 took part in RENEW International “Why Catholic?” training over two years with sponsorship from Catholic Extension

AMS Vice-Chancellor Mark Moitoza (left) with Catholic lay leaders from Fort Meade, Maryland in 2012.

AMS Vice-Chancellor Mark Moitoza (left) with Catholic lay leaders from Fort Meade, Maryland in 2012.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic lay leaders and religious educators serving in the military throughout the eastern United States have completed a two-year training in evangelization and adult faith formation called Why Catholic? Journey through the Catechism. RENEW International of Plainfield, New Jersey, the Catholic faith-building organization that designed the rich scriptural and catechetical approach, teamed up with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) to provide the training over eight weekend sessions—four at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and four at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida—held each fall and spring since August 2012. All eight sessions were sponsored with a $56,000 grant from Catholic Extension, a national fundraising organization established in 1905 to support and strengthen mission dioceses across the United States.

All told, some 90 lay Catholic leaders serving on U.S. military installations from Delaware to Florida took part in the two-yeartraining. The sessions were led by Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor of Evangelization, and Sister Maureen Colleary, FSP, a Catholic nun associated with RENEW International. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, also participated in some of the training. The objective was to empower military Catholic leaders to facilitate small faith groups on installations throughout the Eastern Vicariate. The process for training and faith sharing included five elements: Sharing, Prayer, Learning, Mutual Support, and Mission. Leaders from various installations shared their successes, discussed challenges and collaborated on methods for inviting wider participation through personal invitation, day retreats, and community-wide awareness.

Dr. Moitoza called the training a success. He said:

Why Catholic? achieved its goals in training lay leaders to gather small faith groups at their military installations. Multiple small groups at each participating installation gathered to connect Church teachings to their everyday lives with reflection questions from the Scriptures and the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Catholic Beliefs, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer. The focus on spiritual renewal, invitation, evangelization, and adult faith formation was instrumental in helping these adults to mature in their faith, share the gospel with others, and discover new ways to respond to people in need through selfless service. As indicated in the Why Catholic? ‘Disciple’s Prayer’—lay leaders in the military support the ministry of the military chaplaincy and fulfill their baptismal call when they are ‘strengthened as a disciple of Jesus, committed to the mission of the Church and are eager to share the gospel without restraint.’”

Dr. Moitoza expressed gratitude to RENEW International, the Catholic faith communities at Fort Belvoir and MacDill Air Force Base that hosted the gatherings, and Catholic Extension for making the training possible.