WASHINGTON, D.C. – A local assembly of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) has donated more than $10,000 to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), to support the formation of future Catholic U.S. Military chaplains. Archbishop Michael J. Curley Assembly #383 of College Park, MD, raised the money in a year-long “pass the helmet” campaign at local parishes. On Saturday, assembly leaders James D. Williams, Jr., and Arthur H. Blenkle presented the check for $10,083.49 to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, at the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center in Washington.
The money will go to the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program (CSP), a vocations partnership between the AMS, the K of C, and cooperating dioceses and religious communities around the country. Under the CSP, the home diocese or religious community of each co-sponsored seminarian shares with the AMS the cost of the seminarian’s six-to-seven year formation, each paying 50% of tuition, room and board and other expenses. Once the priest is ordained, he serves for at least three years in his home diocese or religious community before his bishop or religious superior releases him for full-time military service. When the priest leaves the military, he returns to the diocese or community for further pastoral work. So both the AMS and the partner diocese or community benefit from his vocation.
Nearly 40 co-sponsored seminarians were in Washington over the weekend for their annual Labor Day gathering and attended the check presentation at the O’Brien Pastoral Center. Fourth Degree Master Micheal Thumm of the K of C’s Archdiocese of Washington District, himself a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel, commended Assembly #383 on its initiative to support future military chaplains. “It’s an outstanding, highly worthwhile project to undertake,” he said. This is just the latest way the Knights continue to support the formation of Catholic military chaplains. “The Patriotic Degree of the Knights of Columbus has pledged $200,000 each year over the past 5 years to this project,” Col. Thumm said, “and it has renewed the $200,000 pledge again for 2018.”
Archbishop Broglio expressed his gratitude for the local Assembly’s gift as well as the K of C’s ongoing support: “It’s remarkable that a single Assembly could, on its own initiative and determination, raise this amount of money over the course of just one year. I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Michael J. Curley Assembly #383 for their thoughtful generosity to our co-sponsored seminarians and future chaplains. Frankly, however, I am not surprised at their kindness and commitment: the Knights of Columbus has been a steadfast partner and supporter of the AMS for many years now. The K of C’s Father McGivney Scholarship has raised $1.4 million for the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program just since 2011. The AMS receives no government money and depends entirely on private giving for survival, so needless to say, the K of C’s support has made a huge difference, and for that I remain extremely appreciative. Last year alone, the bill for co-sponsorship was in excess of $700,000.00. Consequently, this very generous gift is most timely.”