Catholic Military Youth to Build Bridges of Faith in Weekend Conferences

Youth Conferences to be held in Germany and Texas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic high school teenagers belonging to families in the United States military will come together this weekend to explore the Faith they share in two youth conferences on separate continents—one in Schoenstatt, Germany, the other in San Antonio, Texas. Both conferences are supported by the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) along with cooperating Catholic parishes and religious organizations.

In Schoenstatt, the AMS is partnering with National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and Military Community Youth Ministries to sponsor the 10th Anniversary of the European Catholic Youth Conference (ECYC). More than 150 American youths from parishes throughout Germany, Belgium, and Turkey are registered to attend the August 10-13 conference, which will feature adoration, music, workshops, celebration of the Eucharist, candlelight rosary and other faith-building activities. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, will speak at the ECYC.

In Texas meanwhile, Catholic military-connected youth will be among those attending Inspiration San Antonio at Six Flags Over Texas on August 11, a day combining theme park thrill rides with intense worship, celebration of the Mass, adoration, and powerful Catholic speakers. Inspiration San Antonio is sponsored by Life Teen, a Catholic organization committed to a Eucharist-based ministry as a means of transforming of teens, parishes and culture. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Neal J. Buckon, AMS Episcopal Vicar for the Western Half of the United States, will participate in Inspiration San Antonio.

Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, said:

“In November 2001 about 20 Catholic youth and adult leaders from the U.S. Army post in Heidelberg, Germany attended the NationalCatholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. When their presence was announced 23,000 teenagers from across the United States gave them a standing ovation. This outpouring of support not only recognized the service of their parents but also the sacrifice of military families too, especially after the recent tragedy of 9/11. That conference inspired those that attended to invite Catholic youth from U.S. military installations across Europe to the first European Catholic Youth Conference in 2002. Military-connected youth are necessarily on a pilgrimage of faith as they encounter Christ in so many parts of the world. Their ability to cross-cultures, build bridges of understanding, and adapt to new customs is gift to celebrate.”

Dr. Moitoza further noted:

“This weekend at ECYC a youth deployment panel will discuss the challenges of having a parent or parents deployed. They will share their experiences and explain how both prayer and military Catholic Faith Communities helped them endure these transitions of absence. It is especially fitting on this 10th anniversary of ECYC that Life Teen Inspiration also takes place on the same weekend. These gatherings that encourage young people in the tradition of the Catholic faith remind all of us of the global reach of the archdiocese and the tremendous support that military families provide men and women on active duty.”

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. 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, M.M.