WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), has officially kicked off its 2019 National Collection campaign. The collection, to be taken up in Catholic parishes throughout the United States at weekend Masses Nov. 9-10, 2019, will support pastoral care and ministry to Catholic families stationed worldwide in the U.S. Military, and Catholic patients in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers throughout the country and in Guam and Puerto Rico.
The official kickoff came Saturday night at the AMS’s 10th Annual Benefit. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, hosted more than 250 AMS supporters at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Guests included wounded warriors, a gold star wife, active-duty personnel and retired senior military officers, their spouses, clergy, and seminarians. A reception and dinner followed the celebration of Holy Mass.
The 2019 National Collection will be the third such collection since 2013 after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a national special collection every three years to benefit the AMS. Proceeds support programs and services administered by AMS offices, including Vocations, Evangelization, Religious Education, Sacramental Records, a Tribunal, and Veterans Affairs.
In a letter to Catholic U.S. pastors, Archbishop Broglio writes: “Increasing the Catholic community’s awareness about the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), and its sole responsibility for the spiritual care of approximately 1.8 million Catholic men, women, and children who hail from all 50 states and U.S. territories – including those from your own parish – is of critical importance.”
In the letter, His Excellency notes funds are especially needed to pay for the seminary formation of prospective Catholic military chaplains hoping to relieve a growing shortageon active duty. At the Annual Benefit, he told supporters some 45 prospects are now enrolled in the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a vocations partnership between the AMS and participating dioceses and religious communities. The AMS is responsible for paying half their formation expenses.
“With no end in sight to the U.S. involved wars and conflicts around the world,” Archbishop Broglio writes in his letter to pastors, “the care of those who have fought, an annual operating budget of more than $8.2 million, and the anticipated cost of the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program exceeding $4.5 million in the next five years alone, the generosity of the Catholic community will continue to be essential for some time.”
The Archbishop points out that the AMS “receives no funding from the U.S. Government or U.S. Military in support of its effort to provide pastoral care and services to the AMS faithful spread across the globe and who face constant transition and uncertainty. The programs and services offered by the AMS are readily available to Catholics in every other U.S. diocese.”
Consequently, the AMS relies entirely on private giving. The 2019 special collection is an opportunity for U.S. Catholics to pitch in. But you don’t have to wait to contribute. Donations can be made here now.
You may learn more about the 2019 National Collection for the AMS on a dedicated web page at www.milarch.org/nationalcollection.