Catholic Lay Leaders in U.S. Military to Receive AMS Training in Evangelization

Participate in RENEW evangelization and faith formation program,”Why Catholic?”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic lay leaders serving in the United States military at locations throughout the southeast will receive evangelization training this weekend at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. The September 28-30 training, to be provided by representatives from the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) and the Catholic faith-building organization, RENEW International, will focus on the interactive instructional program, Why Catholic? Journey through the Catechism—founded by RENEW International to help Catholics better understand, practice and spread their faith through participation in small faith-sharing groups.

Training sessions will be led by Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor of Evangelization, and Sister Maureen Colleary, a Catholic nun associated with RENEW International, based in Plainfield, New Jersey. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, will be on hand to welcome the participants Friday evening. Seventeen Catholics from all three service branches—Army, Navy and Air Force—are enrolled. They are stationed at five installations: Fort Bragg, North Carolina; MacDill AFB, Florida; the Naval Submarine Base (NSB) at Kings Bay, Georgia; the Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The objective is to teach trainees new ways of ushering development of the Catholic Faith in their respective military communities.

Dr. Moitoza said:

“Why Catholic? trains lay leaders to gather small faith groups at their military installations to share the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church—the Profession of Faith, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ and Christian Prayer. The focus on spiritual renewal, evangelization, and adult faith formation helps adults to mature in their faith, and it equips them to share the gospel with others. 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.’”

The three-day weekend training schedule runs from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday night; 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Dr. Moitoza said:

“The training starts with the experience of a small faith group where participants learn that we are called to pray together and to act on our faith. It is through the experience of sharing how each of us responds to the gift of faith that we come to know Jesus Christ in a deeper way. Faith is not just between me and God. I must respond through action in order to live my faith. Doing so within the support of the small faith community makes one accountable but also opens one’s eyes to the many possibilities of service.”

This is the second of two Why Catholic? training weekends that the AMS and RENEW International have teamed up to conduct for lay leaders in the Eastern Vicariate of the United States over the past two months. Last month, similar training was held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia for servicemen and women from Fort Belvoir, Dover AFB in Delaware, Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina, and the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point in North Carolina. Both weekends are funded through a $28,000 grant from Catholic Extension, a national fundraising organization established in 1905 to support and strengthen mission dioceses across the United States. Catholic Extension has committed another $28,000 grant for similar training next year.

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 priests 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, M.M.