AMS Headquarters Officially Named the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center

Naming at evening ceremony in honor of former Archbishop for the Military Services, USA

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a formal ceremony and blessing on Wednesday evening, the Washington headquarters of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), was officially named the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center. Cardinal O’Brien,Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, was Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, from 1997 to 2007. He joined his successor, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., the current Archbishop for the Military Services, for the 4:45 p.m. (EST) unveiling of a sign bearing his name over the front door to the Pastoral Centerat 1025 Michigan Avenue, Northeast. The brief service was attended by dozens of AMS clergy, staff, and supporters.

Cardinal O’Brien was at the helm of the AMS in April 2005 when the archdiocese acquired what was then a 48-room seminary owned and operated by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). With a loan from the Knights of Columbus, Archbishop O’Brien oversaw a major, two-year renovation of the five-story building, converting most of its living quarters to offices and otherwise modifying the premises to serve as the AMS pastoral center. In 2007, the AMS moved into the completely refurbished building, transferring and consolidating all operations and living quarters previously spread over two locations in northeast Washington: one location, in leased office space at Theological College, across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue; the other, in Ryan Hall, a home for AMS clergy on Varnum Street.

Addressing Cardinal O’Brien during the ceremony, Archbishop Broglio said:

“The wisdom of providing a permanent home for the offices of the AMS, for the Archbishop, and for the priests who staff certain offices, has become ever more evident with the passage of years since March 2007 when you moved into the center. Your Eminence, thank you for ten years of splendid leadership that you gave to the Archdiocese for the Military Services. Thank you for giving us a home. Thank you for the example of a churchman that you have always been in the over 40 years that I have known you… Know that we are grateful to you for allowing us to name this Pastoral Center after you. May your selfless example inspire all who work here.”

Thanking fellow clergy, military families, and AMS supporters who made acquisition of the building possible, Cardinal O’Brien said:

“It’s a prominent location. It gives us a solid and permanent identity as a Church of Christ in the Catholic tradition.

It’s an announcement to all who would pass by—the message that I always tried, and I think all our chaplains do—is to convey, especially to our young people: there’s no contrast between a person of faith and a member of the military. There’s no opposition. I always use the brief story of the Good Samaritan going down the road and came upon a man who was half-dead, and he took care of him, put him on his donkey, brought him to a hotel, and so forth. But two others had passed by before that. And they did nothing. My thought was, ‘what if this Good Samaritan was coming by and the man was being pelted half to death?’ Did he have a right to step back and say ‘I’ll become a Good Samaritan in about ten minutes when the fight is over?’ Or did he have a right and an obligation to step in and do what had to be done, and only what had to be done, to put an end to that aggression? To be a member of the military is to have the potential of a wonderful vocation. One enters a service. Christ defined Himself as one who came to serve, and not to be served.”