INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA—Where to find stability in a life on the move? That’s a pressing question for almost anyone serving in the U.S. Military, where a “Permanent Change of Station” (PCS) comes as frequently as every two or three years. In Indianapolis on Friday, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS), sponsored a lunch panel on how the Catholic faith can serve as a bedrock for wandering warriors.
The lunch panel was held at the Indiana Convention Center during SEEK 2019, a biennialnational conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students(FOCUS). Seventeen-thousand delegates attended the Jan. 3-7 conference. The AMS lunch panelists included Senior Airman Zachary MacKeller of the U.S. Air National Guard of Idaho, Seaman Hannah Schramke of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Joseph Gardner and his wife Vicky of the U.S. Navy. One-hundred-thirty SEEK 2019 delegates participated.
FOCUS stages these conferences to support the spiritual formation of students in the nation’s universities and colleges, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD; and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, CT. Friday’s lunch panel provided an additional opportunity for cadets and midshipmen from both the service academies and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps(ROTC) programs across the country to connect with Christ and each other.
“FOCUS missionaries accompany cadets and midshipmen in an extraordinary way that facilitates an encounter with Christ for each young man and woman during their undergraduate years,” said Ms. Casey Bustamante, AMS Associate Director for Young Adult Ministry. “This formation is carried with them into their active-duty lives and challenges the young men and women to build community wherever the Lord and the U.S. military sends them,” she added.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, and AMS staff members accompanied 81 cadets and midshipmen from the service academies to SEEK 2019. They included 36 midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy; 23 cadets from the U.S. Military Academy; and 22 cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The AMS delegates included Vocations Director Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O.; Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization Mark Moitoza, Th.D., D. Min.; Ms. Bustamante; and eight seminarians and two priests from the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a vocations partnership between the AMS and participating dioceses and religious communities across America.
The Co-Sponsored seminarians, priests, and AMS delegates staffed a booth (pictured) offering information about the archdiocese and its mission, “Serving Those Who Serve,” and inviting young men attending SEEK 2019 to consider whether they are called to be priests and military chaplains. Meanwhile, the AMS hosted a social gathering for conference delegates at Ike & Jonesy’s, a local establishment. Approximately 100 attended.
Archbishop Broglio said: “I am very grateful to FOCUS for this opportunity to spend some time with enthusiastic young people and, especially, for the occasion to visit with the young men and women that I am privileged to serve. The hours that I was able to spend at SEEK 2019 offered refreshment and great hope for the future of our Catholic community in the USA.”