Endorsed by AMS to serve as Catholic military chaplain
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA—Former Anglican priest Brian Ray, Ph.D. was ordained a Catholic priest by St. Augustine Bishop Felipe Estevez on Saturday, December 22, 2012, at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Father Ray, already an Anglican chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of lieutenant colonel, is now endorsed by the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) to serve as a Catholic military chaplain.
Father Ray is among the first group of priests across North America to be ordained this year for the newly-created Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. It was established by Pope Benedict XVI on January 1, 2012, for former Anglican clergy and groups in North America who are seeking to become Catholic while retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgy.
Father Ray currently serves as command chaplain for the 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, which includes 10,000 soldiers. In this role, he supervises 26 chaplains and 20 chaplain candidates across the southeast. He has received numerous awards for his military service and leadership, including the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award and the Bronze Star for service in Iraq (2007-2008).
Father Ray, who was ordained an Anglican priest in 2008, earned a Ph.D. and Ed.S. in university administration from Florida State University and an MBA from the University of Central Florida, as well as a master of arts in religion from Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, VA. He also has completed Harvard University’s Management Development Program.
Father Ray is Associate Dean of the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida. He and his wife, Shannon, have been married 17 years and have two children. Married Anglican priests received special permission to stay married after ordination as Catholic priests.
Father Ray said:
“There is a tremendous need for Catholic chaplains in the military. I feel honored to be able to serve our brave men and women in uniform. I also look forward to being more involved in campus ministry with Catholic students at the University of Florida.”
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, welcomed Father Ray to the Catholic military chaplain corps.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“I can only rejoice that the faith journey of Father Brian Ray has brought him to full communion with the Catholic Church. I look forward to working with Father Ray and Msgr. Steenson in utilizing FAther’s many talents and long military experience in responding to the spritual needs of Catholics in the military. He will join dozens of seminarians, deacons, and priests from the seminarian Co-Sponsorship program in contributing to the relief of the growing shortage of Catholic military chaplains over the past decade.”
Father Ray is not the only Anglican military chaplain scheduled to be ordained a Catholic priest through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Among others Rev. Ken Bolin, Airborne Brigade Combat Team Chaplain with the U.S. Army, currently stationed in Fort Richardson, Alaska, recently was ordained a Catholic deacon and is expected to be ordained a priest in March 2013.
About the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
Pope Benedict XVI established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter on January 1, 2012 for those groups of Anglicans in the United States who seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
The Ordinariate, which is equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope, has 27 priests, more than 1,600 people and 36 communities across the United States and Canada. Its Ordinary, Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, is a former Episcopal bishop who is based in Houston, TX. Two additional ordinariates are located in the United Kingdom (Our Lady of Walsingham) and Australia (Our Lady of the Southern Cross).
For more information on the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, vist http://www.usordinariate.org .
About the Archdiocese for the Military Services
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 priests 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, https://www.milarch.org , the only official Web site for Catholics in the military and for the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M.