Thank you for considering ministry with our men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families. This is a special and unique ministry in an environment that has similarities to other ministries but also has unparalleled aspects that serving in a military context provides.
The following is strictly for Contract priests. Government Service (GS) priests and active or reserve Chaplains fall into a different category. Please refer to that section of our website.
Last Updated: October 16, 2017
Some Basic Contract Information:
Priests are contractors who work for the government while receiving their faculties from the largest archdiocese in the World. The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) is responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of all Catholics serving in our armed forces as well as civilian personnel serving overseas on military bases and installations. Most Veterans Affairs (VA) positions are GS but there are a number of VA contract positions at the many hospitals throughout the world.
Priests under contract have a “non-personal services” agreement with the Federal Government. Unlike a Government Service (GS) position which comes with a salary, benefits, vacation, and medical; a Non-Personal Services Contract is a fee for service contract for the delivery of Religious Ministry. Usually, these are divided into Units. Each unit is roughly equivalent to an hour of work, so a Sunday Mass would be considered a unit. Hearing Confessions for an hour would be considered a unit. Religious Counseling would be considered a unit. Etc. Contract priests on military facilities in full time positions usually contract for 40 units for week. Part time positions are anywhere from 20-30 units per week.
All Federal Service Contracts are listed on the website www.fbo.gov. (Type in the word “priest” in the search engine and a contract list will come up.) When you click on the individual offerings you will be able to see the position descriptions. Each one is different, so make sure you read them over carefully.
If you decide you would like to bid for a contract, you have to register first as a Vendor. You will have to list yourself as a small business and apply for a DUNS number and a Cage Code.
The following is taken from the Vendor Guide:
“Vendor Profile: Vendors maintain account profiles in the system. Having a profile in place streamlines use of the portal. Among other profile elements, the following key vendor information is maintained in their profile:
- DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) Number – According to the FAR 4.11, prospective vendors must be registered in SAM (System for Award Management) prior to the award of a contract; basic agreement, basic ordering agreement, or blanket purchase agreement. According to FAR 52.204-7, to register in SAM, a firm must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. The DUNS Number is assigned by Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to identify unique business entities.
- Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code – A CAGE Code is a five (5) position code that identifies companies doing, or wishing to do business with the Federal Government. The format of the code is the first and fifth position must be numeric. The second, third and fourth may be any mixture of alpha/numeric excluding I and O. All positions are non-significant. The code provides for a standardized method of identifying a given facility at a specific location. The code may be used for Facility Clearance, PreAward survey, automated Bidders Lists, pay processes, source of supply, etc. 3. MPIN (Marketing Partner Identification Number) – Optional profile field required to view sensitive materials.”
The complete Vendors guide can be found at: https://www.fbo.gov/downloads/FBO_Vendor_Guide.pdf
Once you have a DUNS number and Cage Code, you can bid for a contract. It is important that as you bid for a contract that you simultaneously apply for an Endorsement to receive Faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS). The application for faculties can be found at: www.milarch.org under forms. There is also a list of frequently asked questions that will provide additional information. Faculties last as long as the duration of the contract and must be renewed if a new contract is drawn. Contract extensions do not warrant a new endorsement.
The contracting officer at each facility can also be helpful in navigating through the process to apply for a DUNS number and Cage Code. You can find the contact person in the position description for the base or post.
Contractors are not to use any resources other than AMS resources for assistance with this process. Additionally, before an endorsement is given to a priest seeking a contract, business documentation must be sent to the Chancellor’s office.
- Contracts are usually let for one year with optional years to follow. These optional years can come with a percentage increase in fee.Contracts are usually let for one year with optional years to follow. These optional years can come with a percentage increase in fee.
- Most contracts start with the beginning of the fiscal year which is 1 October and end 30 September.
- Contractors are responsible to pay their own taxes from their contract fee if they claim it as income. (Some contractors have their fee go directly to their religious community and therefore no taxes need to be paid.)• Medical and Dental is the responsibility of the contractor and not the government.• Vacation is not part of any government contract (although, many contracts now are written for 48 or 50 weeks”. If a priest plans to go on vacation, it is “his” responsibility to find a suitable relief for the time that he is away and gain temporary faculties for the visiting priest.
- Retreats or training is also not part of a government contract unless professional time is indicated in the contract. The government presumes that when you gain a contract that you have everything you need personally to fulfill that contract.
- Foreign priests should check the AMS website on the Archbishop’s statement on priests from Foreign Countries and dioceses.
- No priest can sublet his contract without the permission of the AMS.
- Priests cannot make contracts with third party vendors.
- Where there is an active duty priest on the base or post, the contract priest works under his direction.
- Priests who have contracts on bases where they are the only Catholic Asset, operate as Religious Ministry Professionals for Catholic personnel. They are expected to cooperate with the senior chaplain and chaplain staff for administrative issues.
- Flexible working hours are the usual norm for priests working on bases or posts but a regular schedule is expected.
- Contract priests are not “chaplains” and should not be addressed as such. They are also not to do things that are expected of a chaplain, such as stand the “duty watch”. Priest contractors are however expected to be available for emergency situations. In the event the priest contractor is not available, he should provide to the senior or command chaplain at the base or post with the names of the local priests and contact information for the local parish for emergencies.
- Priest contractors are expected to provide records of their activities as required by each service.
- Priest contractors are also required to record all sacraments with the appropriate AMS paperwork and to follow the guidelines in the AMS Priest Manual.
- The AMS holds no contracts. It is the priest who initiates and executes the contract.This is not a comprehensive list but provides information on the most frequently brought up issues.
- If you are seeking a position with the Veterans Affairs (VA) in a Government Service (GS) position please review the open positions at usajobs.gov. All VA positions have specific requirements that include units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)