Confronts chronic shortage of Catholic military chaplains
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) has a new Vocations Director. Father Aidan (Arthur H.) Logan, o.c.s.o., currently a civilian priest assigned to the United States Air Force, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, assumes the new position in January, 2014. He replaces Father John Kaul, who has served as interim Vocations Director for the past few months.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, announced the appointment today. Archbishop Broglio said:
“Father Logan brings vast experience and a profound spirituality to this important ministry. The co-sponsored seminarians and possible candidates for the seminary will find in him a man who loves the Church and who has served our Country first as a Navy Chaplain and then with the Air Force. He will continue the fine work of his predecessors, all of whom gave so much to this Archdiocese. I am deeply grateful that he has accepted this mission.”
As AMS Vocations Director, Father Logan will be in charge of encouraging young men toward the priesthood and military chaplaincy as well as guiding prospective new priest-chaplains through the processes of discernment and formation. The need is pressing. The U.S. armed forces are experiencing a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains as aging priests reach the military’s mandatory retirement age of 62 faster than they can be replaced. Since 2001, the number of active-duty Catholic chaplains has declined over 40 percent from more than 400 to 234 today. Currently, 25 percent of the military is Catholic, but Catholic priests make up only eight percent of chaplains.
Fortunately, through the hard work of Father Logan’s predecessors, including Father Kaul, Father Kerry Abbott, OFM Conv., and Msgr. John McLaughlin, the AMS has seen a sharp increase over the past five years in young men entering formation to become priest-chaplains through the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a vocations support partnership between the AMS and U.S. dioceses and religious communities. Thirty-seven men are now enrolled in the program, up from just seven in 2008. Father Logan will serve as their primary AMS contact, mentor, and spiritual counselor.
Father Logan said:
“Discerning a vocation to the priesthood is an awesome experience for any man, and I am grateful for the call to this ministry. In no other setting is the priest as involved in the daily lives of his flock as in the military chaplaincy. No other corner of the Church’s vineyard has such potential for fostering vocations. I look forward to working closely with our Archbishop, chaplains, and laity in this vital part of the mission of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.”
Father Logan, 65, was born in Montclair, New Jersey. He graduated in 1969 from St. Joseph’s Preparatory Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey before entering St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, a community of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, a Roman Catholicmonastic order founded in 1098. There, he made his Solemn Vows in 1978. Completing undergraduate studies in philosophy at St. Meinrad College in St. Meinrad, Indiana, he pursued graduate studies in theology at St. Joseph’s Abbey School of Theology and the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C. Father Logan was ordained to the Priesthood on May 25, 1985.
At the time of the 1990/91 Gulf War Father Logan volunteered for service in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in August of 1991. After graduating from the Navy Chaplain’s School,Newport, Rhode Island, he was assigned as Battalion Chaplain for the Eight Engineer Support Battalion (2ndFSSG), Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and deployed as MSSG22 chaplain with the 22MEU from October 1992 to April 1993. Transferring to the Active Reserve in November of 1994 he was assigned to the Enlisted Submarine School, New London, Conn. Recalled to active duty in October of 1997 he reported aboard the USS ESSEX (LHD 2) as ship’s chaplain. In June of 2000 he transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan, where he served as pastor to the Catholic Community. From August 2001 to December 2003 he was assigned to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he was Catholic Coordinator and Chapel Pastor. He served as Command Chaplain aboard USS BONHOMME RICHARD(LHD6) from January 2004 to January 2006 and reported to the U. S. Naval Academy in February of 2006 as 4thBattalion and Senior Catholic Chaplain. In June 2009 he reported to the 2ndMarine Division, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he was Division Chaplain until his retirement on 1 October 2010.
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 chaplains 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, MM.
Contact: Taylor Henry