Bishop Robert J. Coyle to Celebrate Mass at Annual Pilgrimage for the Sea Services

Event honoring Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton as Patroness of the Sea Services to be held 3 p.m. (ET) Oct. 5 at National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

EMMITSBURG, Md. —Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Coyle of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), will celebrate this year’s Mass during the annual Pilgrimage for the Sea Services at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The pilgrimage will take place at the Basilica in Emmitsburg, Md. on Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. (ET). The event is held each year to honor Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton asPatroness of the Sea Services and ask for her intercession for all the men and women serving those services of our nation. Visitors are welcomed to join members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, the U.S. Public Health Service, along with family members and friends, and hundreds of others expected for theMass and reception.

An auxiliary to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the U.S. Military Services, Bishop Coyle currently serves as the archbishop’s Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Region of the United States. For 25 years, Bishop Coyle served on active and reserve duty as a chaplain before his retirement from the Naval Reserve in 2013. He had many assignments, including service with the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan, on the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, and in the Middle East with Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom. He also served as Command Chaplain at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. In 2008, Bishop Coyle was named by Pope Benedict XVI a Chaplain to His Holiness. Bishop Coyle is also a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. His episcopal ordination took place in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on the Feast of Saint Mark, April 25, 2013.

At the Oct. 5 pilgrimage Mass, the U.S. Naval AcademyCatholic Choir will provide music and the Military Ceremonial Honor Guard from Washington, D.C. will present the Colors with an Honor Guard from the Knights of Columbus. Deacons and altar servers will be provided by seminarians from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg.

The Chairman of the event, Adm. William Fallon, a four-star admiral and great friend of the AMS, served for 41 years in the U.S. military and his last assignment was a Commander, U.S. Central Command, from March 2007 to March 2008. The Sea Services Pilgrimage was previously chaired by the late Admiral James D. Watkins, who in 1977 successfully petitioned the Holy See to establish Saint Elizabeth Ann’s patronage of the Sea Services.

“It is my honor to serve as chair of this committee, assisted by Vice Adm. Bill Earner,” said Fallon. “Admiral Watkins laid the foundation and inspirationally led the committee for over 30 years. It is our desire to bolster participation in the pilgrimage and devotion to our Patroness through greater outreach to our active duty ranks. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is a beacon of hope for the men and women serving our country at sea.”

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s link to the sea services stems from the U.S. Navy service of her two sons, William and Richard. Her deep concern for William, who was appointed midshipman on the fourth of July in 1817, is evidenced in the many letters she wrote him during his 17 years of service. Mother Seton’s letters to her sons at sea showed a mother’s concern in startling clarity. Elizabeth Ann would worry that she didn’t know where they were at sea and if they were okay. “Now men and women at sea can know they have a Saint watching over them. They can entrust their loved ones to her care,” said Adm. Fallon.

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