WASHINGTON, DC – The Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) Institute of Huntington, IN, has awarded a $23,940 grant to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), for the purpose of training young adult leaders to evangelize their non-practicing Catholic peers at U.S. Military installations. The grant will make it possible for the AMS to expand a pilot initiative it launched 18 months ago in partnership with Reach More™, an online coaching and training system of the Evangelical Catholic, a nonprofit specializing in Catholic ministry consulting and evangelization training.
The AMS and the Evangelical Catholic introduced the Reach More training beginning in August 2018 at five military installations: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California, Marine Corps Base Camp Hansen on Okinawa, Japan, Osan Air Base in South Korea, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. Thanks to the OSV grant, the Archdiocese will be able to add Reach More training at another five installations, including U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr and Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, expressed his appreciation to the OSV Institute: “Evangelization of the young adults entrusted to the spiritual care of the AMS is of primary importance. They represent our peripheries. I am deeply grateful to Our Sunday Visitor Institute for this important assistance. I know that it will make an important difference.”
Ms. Casey Lee, AMS Associate Director for Young Adult Ministry, said the expansion is already in progress, with Reach More training now underway at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. So far, she said, approximately 40 service members and spouses have become involved with the training across seven installations.
With Reach More, Ms. Lee said, the AMS hopes to achieve the goal of making military young adult Catholic leaders “fishers of men and women,” equipping them with skills to bring their non-church-going peers into small Catholic faith groups during Lent, which begins this year on Feb. 26. Reach More leaders have access to online resources and a weekly phone call with a coach who provides insights, encouragement, and suggestions to navigate obstacles.
“The greatest gift the Reach More online coaching system has provided,” Ms. Lee said, “is formation in evangelization for young adults who are trying to reach out to their peers. The preparation the young adult leaders are investing in is helping them go out and find young adults, not normally participating in church activities, and invite and engage them in a meaningful way to know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. Several of the young adults involved in the Reach More small group training have noted that they have begun to find new authentic spiritual friendships, and this appears to fuel their desire to invite others into the same experience—they seem to be motivated by that more than just promoting program events and gatherings.”
OSV is the world’s largest manufacturer of church offering envelopes and one of the world’s largest Catholic publishers. The legacy of Archbishop John Francis Noll, the organization was founded by a $1 investment in 1912 and began a lifelong apostolate to educate the Catholic laity in the faith and help them be prepared to defend the Church from its many critics. The mission of the OSV Institute is to serve the Church by supporting and encouraging innovative and effective Church-related programs and activities that help Catholics fulfill their calling to discipleship, strengthen their relationship with Christ, deepen their commitment to the Church, and contribute to its growth and vitality in the world.