SAN ANTONIO, TX – The Reverend Mr. David B. Chacko, (1LT), USAR, a candidate for the Catholic priesthood and United States Military chaplaincy, was ordained a transitional deacon on Saturday, Sept. 10, in his home Archdiocese of San Antonio. The new deacon, an alumnus of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, is on track to be ordained a priest next year and hopes eventually to serve as an active-duty Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Army, and provide pastoral care to Catholic soldiers and their families with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).
The Rev. Mr. Chacko’s diaconal ordination was celebrated at St. Anthony Mary Claret Catholic Church in San Antonio through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller. Concelebrating the ordination Mass were Auxiliary Bishops Joseph L. Coffey of the AMS and Gary W. Janak and Michael J. Boulette of San Antonio. Among those in attendance were the new deacon’s parents, Benjamin and Rosemary Chacko, and several siblings including Joshua, Mary, Peter and Thomas Chacko.
“I am overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of God at this moment,” the Rev. Mr. Chacko said. “I am incredibly humbled to serve Jesus Christ and His Church as a deacon. I am so grateful for all the prayers and support I have received from family, friends, and the members of the Body of Christ. As I continue my journey towards priesthood, I ask for continued prayers that, like our Blessed Mother Mary, I may respond generously and faithfully to Our Lord, whose grace and call are pure gift.”
The Rev. Mr. Chacko, 29, who was home-schooled, is a 2015 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. “I felt the stirrings of God’s call to the priesthood during my time as a cadet at West Point,” he said. “The sacramental life, the Catholic community, and the accompaniment and mentorship of priests and chaplains at the Academy fostered in me a growing desire to pursue the priesthood.”
The Rev. Mr. Chacko is currently enrolled at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, where he is pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree. After priestly ordination next year, he will serve in the Archdiocese of San Antonio for three years before entering active duty under the co-sponsored seminarian agreement with the AMS.
The eventual service of the Rev. Mr. Chacko and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Army, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, the Army has only 83 Catholic priests on active duty, serving more than 120,000 Catholic soldiers and their families spread worldwide.
Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information at www.milarch.org/vocations, or may contact AMS Vocations Director Father S. Matthew Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 719-3600.
Gifts in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at milarch.org/donate.