Calls for thanksgiving, prayers for peace and deeper understanding and profession of faith during Year of Faith
WASHINGTON, D.C.—His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, has video-recorded a Christmas message to the 1.8 million Catholics serving in the United States armed forces, hospitalized in the nation’s VA Medical Centers or performing civilian work for the U.S. government beyond our borders. Catholic military chaplains stationed with U.S. servicemen and women around the world will show the video at Sunday Mass December 22-23.
The video can be seen online at Archbishop Broglio’s Christmas Message. It is also accessible on the new Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) app at AMS Catholic Faith Deployed.
Here follows the complete text of Archbishop Broglio’s Christmas message:
The Lord of the Universe and Savior of the World chose to accept the Father’s will and spend nine months in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and be born in a stable. For two thousand years the tenderness of a new-born infant warmed by the straw and the heat generated by animals has inspired generations of believers.
Regardless of its designation, the birth of the Christ Child has marked the history of humanity, which is forever determined by what happened before His birth and what happened afterwards. Christmas invites us to pause before the manger and place our aspirations and needs before the Prince of Peace.
For this reason as your Archbishop I am pleased to have this opportunity to send you my personal greetings. Having faithful spread across the globe means that our opportunities to gather physically in one place as an Archdiocese are very limited, but in the mystery of the Eucharist, we are united in that one sacrifice which knows no separation in time or space. You will certainly be with me at the altar in Korea where I plan to spend the last days of Advent and the first ones of the Christmas Season.
Many of you will be separated from family and loved ones at this time of year and, while I share your sacrifice, I want to thank you for your commitment to defend the ideals and freedoms that are the hallmark of the United States of America. I am equally grateful for others, our beloved Veterans and especially those who have been scarred forever while paying the price of that freedom, who are cared for in the facilities and Medical Centers of the Veterans’ Administration.
Still others will gather with their children and help them discover the wonder of the Savior’s birth. Christmas is indeed a time when members of a family want to be together.
The Year of Faith, which our Holy Father has given to the Church, represents a unique opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of the truths of the faith, to renew our profession of that faith, and to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the second Vatican Council. Christmastime calls us to consider the Word which became flesh, dwelt among us, and freed us from sin. There never has been, is not now, and never will be anyone not saved through the merits of Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us first of all give thanks once more for this perfect sign of the Father’s love for us. Then, let us pray for lasting peace in our strife-torn world as we recall the words of Pope Benedict XVI last Christmas:
God has appeared – as a child. It is in this guise that he pits himself against all violence and brings a message that is peace. At this hour, when the world is continually threatened by violence in so many places and in so many different ways, when over and over again there are oppressors’ rods and bloodstained cloaks, we cry out to the Lord: O mighty God, you have appeared as a child and you have revealed yourself to us as the One who loves us, the One through whom love will triumph. And you have shown us that we must be peacemakers with you. We love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you: manifest your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause the oppressors’ rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle to be burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours. (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at Christmas Mass in the Night, 24.XII.11.)
Significantly, you who suffer personally the effects of war, know the value of peace and can easily make those words of the Holy Father your own. Teach us to pray together for that first gift of the Prince of Peace announced by the angels.
On behalf of my Auxiliary Bishops and the staff of the Archdiocese, I wish all of you and your loved ones near and far serenity and lasting joy and I invoke abundant blessings upon you. Merry Christmas and a blessed 2013!
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 priests 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 www.milarch.org, the only official Web site for Catholics in the military and for the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M.