WASHINGTON, DC – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) is celebrating the weekend ordinations of three prospective Catholic United States Military chaplains. On Saturday, May 30, Fathers Joseph Baltz and James Dvorak were ordained priests, and the Reverend Mr. Callan Sweeney was ordained a transitional deacon in preparation for priestly ordination next year. All three plan to serve on active duty with AMS endorsement and faculties following three years of pastoral service in their home dioceses: Father Baltz and the Rev. Mr. Sweeney in the Army; Father Dvorak in the Navy.
Father Baltz was ordained in Santa Fe, NM, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Archbishop John C. Wester. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Among those in attendance were the new priest’s parents, David and Roxanne Baltz, his grandmother, Ms. Barbara Baltz, and his three siblings and their spouses.
Father Baltz, 27, is a 2011 graduate of Rio Rancho High School. He graduated from the University of Dallas in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and completed his priestly formation, earning a Master of Arts in Theology, at Mount Angel Seminary in Saint Benedict, OR. “A week ago I was freaking out,” Father Baltz said. “Now I am so glad I have reached this honor of being another Christ to His Church, of acting in His person. A few hours after my ordination I got to work and heard confessions for over three hours; it was glorious. I am excited about getting out there and bringing Jesus to those people who desperately need Him.” Father Baltz celebrated his first Mass on Sunday at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Rio Rancho, NM. He will serve his first priestly assignment at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Father Dvorak was ordained in Victoria, TX, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory. Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of the Diocese of Victoria administered the ordination through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass, which was attended by, among others, the new priest’s parents, Gail Dvorak and Victor Dvorak, Jr. Father Dvorak, 27, is a 2011 graduate of Columbus High School in Columbus, Texas. In 2015, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Dallas. He completed his priestly formation, earning a Master of Divinity Degree, at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Houston. “I am humbled to have received the vocation to Holy Orders,” Father Dvorak said. “I cannot wait to serve Holy Mother Church as her priest.” Father Dvorak celebrated his first Mass on Sunday at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Frelsburg TX. He will serve his first priestly assignment at Our Lady of the Gulf Parish in Port Lavaca, TX, and its three mission parishes.
The Rev. Mr. Callan Sweeney was ordained in Cedar Park, TX, in a 10:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Margaret Mary Parish through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of the Diocese of Austin. AMS Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer concelebrated the ordination Mass, which was attended by the new deacon’s mother, Ms. Jean Sweeney. To ensure social distancing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, his father, Mr. Steven Sweeney, and sister Sarah and her husband, Mr. Rusty Ray, watched via livestream from home in Minnesota.
The Rev. Mr. Sweeney, 31, is a 2007 graduate of Lake Travis High School in Austin, TX, and a 2011 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY. It was through the example of the priest chaplains at the USMMA, he said, that he discovered his vocation. The new deacon holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the USMMA, and in 2019, he earned a Master of Science in Psychology from Divine Mercy University in Arlington, VA. From 2011 to 2014, he served on active duty with the 1st Aviation Brigade at Fort Rucker, AL, and now serves as a Chaplain Candidate in the Army Reserve with the 17th Psychological Operations Battalion, based in Austin. “The journey to ordination has been long and challenging,” the Rev. Mr. Sweeny said, “but also extremely blessed in God’s abundant generosity. I hope to be worthy of so great a gift.” The new deacon is scheduled to be ordained a priest next year following a final year of formation at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Houston.