Two prospective chaplains ordained priests at Memorial Day weekend Masses
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is celebrating the priestly ordination of two prospective U.S. Military chaplains over the Memorial Day weekend. Father Christopher Dorsey, 28, was ordained a priest in Orlando, Fla. Father Jacob Valle, 26, was ordained a priest in Peoria, Ill.
Each new priest hopes eventually to serve on active duty in the U.S. Military with endorsement and faculties from the AMS. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, participated at the ordination of Father Dorsey. The AMS Vocations Director, Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., concelebrated the ordination Mass for Father Valle.
Bishop John Noonan of Orlando ordained Father Dorsey at St. James Cathedral. BishopDaniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., of Peoria celebrated the ordination of Father Valle at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Both ordinations were celebrated on Saturday, May 23.
The newly ordained expressed joy at reaching this milestone in their vocations.
Father Dorsey said:
“I am extremely excited to be ordained a priest. I have been overwhelmed by the support, prayers, and love shown to me by all the communities I have had the chance to be a part of in the journey of the last seven years of seminary and can’t wait to begin giving back to them in my ministry. I still can’t fathom the blessings of my vocation and that in a few short days I will be presiding at mass and the other sacraments.”
Father Valle said:
“I’m excited to be ordained for priestly ministry in the Diocese of Peoria and then in the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. Since my youth, I have been inspired by the priests who have been instrumental to my faith life. Now, I am eager to share in that ministry and to participate in God’s message of love in the world today.”
As with about 16% of the more than 500 young men being ordained priests in the U.S. this year, both Fathers Dorsey and Valle come from military family backgrounds.
Father Dorsey is the youngest of three children born to Maj. Lee Dorsey, USAF (ret.), and Mrs. Mary Dorsey of Melbourne, Fla. Like so many military families, the Dorseys moved around quite a bit during his childhood, rotating between assignments in Washington, California, Alabama, Virginia, and Florida. Father Dorsey’s father is now a contractor with the United States Department of Defense. His mother is the Director of Religious Education at his home parish of Holy Name of Jesus in Indialantic Beach, Fla. The couple attended Father Dorsey’s ordination, along with his sister, Ms. Candice Dorsey; his brother, Mr. Nick Dorsey, and his wife, Mrs. Jaclyn Dorsey; his niece, Ms. Rowan Dorsey; and other members of the extended family.
Although Orlando is Father Dorsey’s home diocese, he underwent priestly formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., the primary seminary for all Florida dioceses. Father Dorsey will begin his pastoral service at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee, Fla. He hopes eventually to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Army, where he is currently on reserve status as a Second Lieutenant.
Father Valle is the fourth of five children born to Maj. Charles Valle, USAF (ret.), now a pilot for American Airlines, and Mrs. Mary Beth Valle. The couple attended his ordination along with his sisters, Mrs. Andrea Pérez; and Mrs. Kathryn Pedersen and her husband, Mr. Simon Pedersen, and their daughter, Tenlee; and his brothers, Capt. Nathan Valle, USAF, and his wife, Mrs. Valerie Valle, and their daughter, Maria; and Mr. Benjamin Valle.
Rev. Mr. Valle is a 2007 graduate of Marian Central Catholic School in Woodstock, Ill. He said that during his freshman year of college at Illinois State University, he came to know Jesus through eucharistic adoration. The following year, he entered the Immaculate Heart of Mary College Seminary in Winona, Minn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2011. Father Valle underwent his priestly formation at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He will begin his pastoral service at St. Philomena’s Parish in Peoria. He currently holds the rank of Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He anticipates going on active duty in June of 2018.
Fathers Dorsey and Valle are among a growing number of men in formation to become priests and military chaplains through the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a partnership between the AMS and local dioceses and religious communities to support vocations and fill a fast-growing shortage of Catholic chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces. The shortage comes as more and more priests reach the military’s mandatory retirement age of 62 faster than they can be replaced. Since 9/11, the number of active-duty chaplains has fallen from more than 400 to 228. While Catholics make up about 25% of the U.S. Military, Catholic priests currently account for only 8% of military chaplains, representing only one priest for every 1,300 Catholics in uniform, not counting families of those service members.
Thanks in large part to the support of U.S. bishops and religious superiors, along with increased awareness and discernment opportunities for prospective chaplains, the number of co-sponsored seminarians has risen from seven in 2008 to 26 today They come from 24 U.S. dioceses and are enrolled in 13 seminaries nationwide and the Pontifical North American College in Rome. This year, five of those seminarians will be ordained priests and two priests will go on active duty. Another 13 priests, now in reserve status, are set to phase into active duty over the next three years. Meanwhile, another four men are scheduled to enter the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program in the fall, and the AMS Office of Vocations is currently processing the applications of still others.
The AMS, which receives no funding from the government and depends entirely on private giving, is now looking for ways to fund a fast-rising seminary bill, now projected at $2.7 million over the next five years. Donations can be made here.
Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information here, or may contact Father Logan by email.