Two Prospective Catholic U.S. Military Chaplains Ordained Transitional Deacons at St. Peter’s Basilica

Diaconal ordination marks next-to-last step toward priesthood for Rev. Mr. Ryan Boyle and Rev. Mr. Alexander Scott

Rev. Mr. Alexander Scott (left) and Rev. Mr. Ryan Boyle at their diaconal ordination Mass on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Rev. Mr. Alexander Scott (left) and Rev. Mr. Ryan Boyle at their diaconal ordination Mass on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

THE VATICAN – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is celebrating the diaconalordination of two prospective CatholicU.S. military chaplains on Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Altar of the Chair in thePapal Basilica of St. Peter. The Reverend Mr. Ryan Boyle and the Reverend Mr. Alexander Scott were both ordained transitional deaconsthrough the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking theHoly Spirit by His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop ofWashington, D.C. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the U.S. Military Services, concelebrated the 9:30 a.m. (CEST) ordination Mass. The AMS Vocations Director, Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., also concelebrated.
Both new deacons come from military families, and like many military “brats,” they moved around quite a bit growing up. Rev. Mr. Boyle was born at Yokota Air Base, Japan, in 1976, the son of now-retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Gary S. Boyle and Mrs. Sheryl Boyle ofValrico, Fla., now married for 43 years. He is the oldest of the couple’s two sons. After 14 moves, 65 countries, and 6 continents of travel, Rev. Mr. Boyle entered seminary in the summer of 2009 for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla. He graduated from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami in 2011, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology (STB) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2014. He is currently studying canon law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Before entering the seminary, Rev. Mr. Boyle served in the U.S. Air Force, and he hopes to return to the Air Force as a chaplainfollowing his priestly ordination in May, 2015. After graduating from Bloomingdale Senior High School in Valrico, he graduated from theU.S. Air Force Academy in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. Following pilot training, he amassed 4,400 hours flying the C-5, C-17, and C-21 cargo planes for the Air Force world-wide, including numerous combat missions into Afghanistan and Iraq. Rev. Mr. Boyle enjoys outdoor activities including mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming at the beach. He says that finding God in the beauty of creation, through prayer, serving others, and in the Holy Mass led him to a deeper relationship with God. Rev. Mr. Boyle’s parents and his brother, Matthew, all attended his diaconal ordination.

Rev. Mr. Boyle said:

“I give thanks and praise to almighty God for calling me to serve Him and the church as a transitional deacon. I look forward to priestly ordination next year and to returning to active duty to serve the men and women who protect and defend us and our freedom throughout the world. Growing up in a military family and serving on active duty through two wars prepared me well for my time in seminary. I am confident that these years of prayer and study along with God’s abundant grace have prepared me well to return to the military as a Chaplain to serve both God and country.”

Rev. Mr. Scott was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the fifth of six children, to now-retired U.S. Army Major General Bruce K. Scott and Ms. Mary Scott of Lorton, Va., now married for 39 years. He spent his early years moving frequently around Germany and the United States before settling with his family at Ft. Belvoir, Va., when he was 10 years old. He finished elementary school and attended middle and high school in Northern Virginia, graduating from Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria in 2005. He went on to attend the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., on a full ROTC scholarship, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Philosophy and History. Rev. Mr. Scott says prayer and discernment at Holy Cross led him to consider the priesthood, and he applied for and was granted an educational delay in his military service for the purpose of attending seminary.

In 2009, Rev. Mr. Scott began his seminary studies at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and after two years there, he earned a Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies. At the request of Cardinal Wuerl, he transferred to the North American College in Rome where he earned an STB in 2014 from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, where he will begin studies for the License in Sacred Theology in the field of Dogmatic Theology this Fall. Rev. Mr. Scott is studying to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and he is a chaplain candidate in the United States Army. Four of his five siblings serve on active duty in the Army, including Maj. Katherine Gowel, Maj. Andrew Scott, Cpt. Kerney Perlik, and Lt. Adam Scott. His sister, Karoline Newell, served five years on active duty in the Air Force. All attended his diaconal ordination, along with his parents. Rev. Mr. Scott hopes to become an Army chaplain following his priestly ordination sometime next year.

Rev. Mr. Scott said:

“Being ordained a deacon is a tremendous blessing and gift. It is a humbling experience; to have the Church call me to dedicate my life to service after the example of Christ is a tremendous privilege. At the same time, there is a profound realization that my life is now entirely dedicated to service of Christ’s Church. I commit myself to promises of celibacy, prayer, and obedience and even beyond that, I take on the mantle of living my life in the model of Christ as servant. It is an awesome responsibility and one that I could not accomplish without the grace of God, but one that is an unmatched source of joy in my life.”

The two new deacons are among a growing number of men in formation to become Catholic priests and military chaplains, many of whom, including Rev. Mr. Boyle, are undergoing priestly formation 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. military. 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 227. While Catholics make up about 25% of the U.S. armed forces, Catholic priests currently account for only 8% of military chaplains.

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 30 today, and still more candidates are on the way. Rev. Mr. Boyle and Rev. Mr. Scott are among six prospective chaplains to be ordained transitional deacons this year. Also this year, another six will be ordained priests.

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.