RICHMOND, VA – Father Armando Herrera (1LT), USAR, was ordained a Catholic priest on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Richmond, VA, thus reaching a crucial milestone in a formational journey he hopes will lead to full-time service as a U.S. Army chaplain with requisite endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). Father Herrera, who already serves in the U.S. Army Reserve, wants to accede to active duty following a three-year period of civilian assignments in his home Diocese of Richmond under a co-sponsorship agreement with the AMS. The civilian service is meant for the Richmond Diocese to reap early fruits of labor from a new priest while giving Father Herrera opportunities to develop practical, ministerial experience before embarking on the vocation within a vocation, serving those who serve as an active-duty Army chaplain. Under the co-sponsorship agreement, Father Herrera will return to Richmond as a diocesan priest upon completion of his military service.
Father Herrera, 29, completed the program for priestly formation at Theological College in Washington, DC, where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and a Master of Divinity from The Catholic University of America. His priestly ordination was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Barry C. Knestout, D.D. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, concelebrated the 10:30 a.m. ordination Mass and received a first blessing from Father Herrera after his ordination. Among those in attendance were the new priest’s parents, Armando and Lizette Herrera. Father Herrera celebrated his first Mass at Saint Benedict Catholic Church in Richmond. His first priestly assignment will be at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Harrisonburg, VA.
Commenting on his priestly ordination, Father Herrera said, “I am overjoyed with this gift the Lord has given me. There is nothing else I would want to do with my life than to be a priest of Jesus Christ. I am excited to serve the people of the Diocese of Richmond and our Armed Forces. ”
Father Herrera is a 2012 graduate of Roanoke Catholic High School and a 2016 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he matriculated on an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology. The new priest says he discerned his vocation in college. “At VMI,” he says, “I had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ on a retreat that changed my life forever. I began to live a life of serious discipleship and prayer. I began to surrender more and more of my will and my life over to Him and it was then that he began calling me to be His priest.”
The eventual priestly service of Father Herrera 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, only 80 priests are on active duty in the Army, 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 milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the AMS Office of Vocations directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at milarch.org/donate.