AMS to Receive Proceeds from Annual Christmas Concert at National Shrine

Portion reserved for Frontline Faith Project distributing MP3 players with spiritual content to deployed U.S. servicemen and women

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The public will have an unusual opportunity this Friday evening to support Catholic ministry to the U.S. armed forces and VA Medical Centers while enjoying beautiful Christmas music performed live. The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) will receive proceeds from a free-will offering at this year’s Christmas Concert for Charity at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C.

The Catholic University of America and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will celebrate the annual Concert on Friday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Upper Church. Admission is free, but the free-will offering will enable concert-goers make a voluntary donation to the AMS. Early seating is recommended.

Sponsored jointly by the University and the Basilica, the first portion of the concert features the Choir of the Basilica, conducted by Peter Latona, director of music; performing in the second half are The Catholic University of America Chamber Choir, University Singers, University Chorus, and the CUA Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor and director of the Institute of Sacred Music.

The AMS will dedicate a portion of the proceeds to the Frontline Faith Project to assist with the distribution of MP3 players — which are preloaded with seven hours of spiritual content — to Catholic and Protestant men and women of the armed forces.

“I thought that by designating the Archdiocese for the Military Services and Frontline Faith as the beneficiary of this year’s charity, we would all have the opportunity to support the ministry of the chaplains as well as contribute to the spiritual welfare of our men and women in the armed services,” said Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, expressed appreciation and gratitude.

Archbishop Broglio said:

“Once again I am grateful to Monsignor Rossi and the other sponsors of this annual Christmas Charity Concert for naming the AMS as this year’s beneficiary. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception so often opens her doors to the Archdiocese. Donations taken up in the free-will offering will provide much-needed support for chaplains ministering to the men and women who serve, or have served, our Country in difficult circumstances. By helping fund the Frontline Faith Project, they will put MP3 players carrying the Good News of Salvation into the hands of those in harm’s way. I can think of no greater Christmas gift for the brave members of the U.S. military and their families.”

As in the past 12 years, the Christmas Concert for Charity will feature the premiere of a new work by a CUA student or faculty member. This year features the premiere of “Lux refulget,” by Joseph Santo, assistant dean of academics and graduate studies.

Other works will include Gibbons’ “This Is The Record of John” with tenor Alexander Wolniak; Martin Dalby’s “Mater salutaris;” Colin Mawby’s “Ave verum corpus;” David Willcocks’ setting of “Masters in This Hall;” Leo Nestor’s “Sing Lullaby” with Rick Christman, clinical assistant professor, tenor; Praetorius’ “Psallite Unigenito” in a setting by Helmut Kickton; Randall Thompson’s “The Carol of the Rose” from The Place of the Blest; and Joseph Eybler’s “Reges Tharsis et insulae.”

During the concert, the audience will be invited to join the chorus, orchestra, and the great organs of the Basilica in singing the traditional carols “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The concert concludes with “Hallelujah” from Handel’s “Messiah” in Mozart’s orchestration.

The concert will air on EWTN on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 25, at 11 p.m.; and Monday, Dec. 31, at 11 p.m., Eastern time.

Free parking is available at the Basilica Harewood Road Parking Lot. For more information on the concert, or More information on the Frontline Faith Project may be found at



The AMS was created as an independent archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers.

AMS-endorsed priests serve at more than 220 U.S. military installations in 29 countries, making the AMS the nation’s only global archdiocese. AMS-endorsed chaplains also serve at 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the U.S.

The AMS service population also includes American Catholic civilians working for the federal government in 134 countries, but currently, due to limited resources, the AMS cannot adequately serve this population.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend on the AMS to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs.

For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, visit, the only official Web site for Catholics in the military and for the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M.