STOCKBRIDGE, MA – Father Matthew Tomeny, MIC, LTJG, USNR, a candidate for active-duty U.S. Military chaplaincy, was ordained a Catholic priest on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021—the Feast of St. John the Evangelist—in Stockbridge, MA. He hopes eventually to serve as a Catholic Navy chaplain with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). The new priest plans to go on active duty following a three-year period of pastoral service in his religious community, the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception (the Marians), under a co-sponsorship agreement between the Marians and the AMS.
Father Tomeny, 27, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) in Philosophy and Humanities & Catholic Culture from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, completed the program for priestly formation at the Marian Scholasticate in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception (PFIC) at the Dominican House of Studies.
His ordination was celebrated at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by AMS Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer. Among those in attendance were Father Tomeny’s parents, Dr. Patrick and Nelly Tomeny, and eight of his nine siblings, assorted relatives, and friends in addition to a large group of Marian priests, brothers, and seminarians. Watch video of the ordination Mass here.
The Very Rev. Father Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, Provincial Superior, shared a letter to Father Tomeny from the Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, who expressed regret at being out of the country and unable to attend in person.
“The call to priestly ministry is a great gift, and offers the occasion to serve others in persona Christi,” Archbishop Broglio wrote. “The serenity that comes from that constant response to divine grace and the needs of those entrusted to your care is a marvelous experience. Even after 44 years, it is exciting to be a priest.
“Your Congregation will be enriched by your ministry and those you serve will be inspired by your commitment and enthusiasm,” the archbishop concluded. “I truly rejoice in this day.”
Commenting on his ordination, Father Tomeny said: “I feel very blessed and joyful. I am thankful to all those who have been praying for me and supporting me over all these years. I look forward to serving wherever God wants me to be His instrument for Christ and the Church.”
The eventual active-duty service of Father Tomeny and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Navy, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains due to attrition: aging priests are retiring from the Military faster than they can be replaced. Currently, only 44 priests are on active duty in the Navy, serving hundreds of thousands of Catholics based worldwide in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and their families.
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 Vocations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 719-3600.
Donations in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at milarch.org/donate.