Leaders of Catholic Military Dioceses in 15 Nations Meet to Share Views on Pastoral Care for Those Who Serve

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio represents the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, at Paris meeting

PARIS – Leaders of Catholic military dioceses based in more than a dozen nations gathered in Paris this week for an extraordinary meeting on the mission they share—serving those who serve in the armed forces of their respective countries. Bishops and other representatives of 15 military dioceses around the world came together at the invitation of Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of theCongregation for Bishops of the Holy See. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio represented the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), based in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of the May 11-14 meeting, the military ordinaries and clerics prayed, assessed the current state of pastoral care for men and women in uniform and their families, and discussed plans for the upcoming 30th anniversary of the promulgation of Spirituali Militum Curae, the document of St. John Paul II that currently guides the pastoral care of the military. Mr. Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (K of C), addressed the gathering.

Archbishop Broglio said the occasion was propitious for an exchange of ideas and a review of similarities and dissimilarities in the situation of each diocese. The topics included how to reach the members of the armed forces, how to respond to their spiritual needs, how to prepare the active chaplain for the reality of death–both his and that of those he serves. One day of the four-day conference was devoted to relations between the military bishops and representatives of the political world, of the command structure, and their fellow bishops.

Archbishop Broglio said:

“It is always good to spend time with my brother bishops and to learn more about their situations and let them know about the experience in the U.S. Every country addresses pastoral care of those who defend them in a different way. I look forward to a celebration of the far-sighted provision of St. John Paul II to erect military vicariates as dioceses. It recognizes the reality of pastoral care for those on active duty and their families.”

The Shrine to the Sacred Heart, which maintains perpetual adoration, offered a splendid setting for the opening Mass and prayers.Notre Dame Cathedral was the location for Mass on the second day of the gathering. The concluding Mass was held at the FrenchMilitary Cathedral at Les Invalides.

After taking part in the meeting, Archbishop Broglio flew to Lourdes to celebrate the opening Mass for the U.S. delegation to theInternational Military Pilgrimage, taking place May 15-17.

Archbishop Broglio said:

“It was also a privilege to celebrate the opening Mass with the pilgrims gathered for the International Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes. A number of pilgrims came from the States and many priests have joined them and will assure the spiritual needs of those who gather at this important shrine. I was happy to address the pilgrims Thursday night on Mary, the First Christian.”

Archbishop Broglio will return to Washington in time to celebrate the AMS’s annual Memorial Mass on Sunday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m. (EDST) in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue Northeast in Washington, D.C. Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer will stay in Lourdes to lead the U.S. delegation for the remainder of the International Pilgrimage.