CINCINNATI, OH – Two prospective Catholic U.S. Military chaplains were ordained priests on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Cincinnati, OH. Father Michael Kapolka, 2d Lt, USAFR, and Father Edward Hoffmann, (1LT) IRR, both hope eventually to serve as priests on active duty with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). Father Kapolka plans to serve in the Air Force, Father Hoffmann in the Army, both following a three-year period of pastoral service in their home Archdiocese of Cincinnati under the co-sponsorship agreement between the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the AMS.
Both new priests completed their formation at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, where each earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Theology. Their priestly ordination was celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Dennis Marion Schnurr. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, concelebrated the 11:00 a.m. ordination Mass.
Among those in attendance were the families of the new priests: Father Kapolka’s parents, Jeffrey Kapolka, Maj (Ret.), USAF, and his wife Debra, his sister, Ms. Kelsey Kapolka, and his brother, Captain Tyler Kapolka, Capt, USAF; and Father Hoffmann’s parents, David and Susan Hoffmann, and brothers, Father Henry Hoffmann, C.O., and Ensign Charles Hoffmann, ENS, USN.
Father Kapolka, 29, is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Middle Eastern History and a Master of Arts in Catholic Studies. “It is incredibly humbling to have been called and ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ,” he said. “I am grateful for the prayers and support of the faithful of the Archdioceses of Cincinnati and the Military Services in these last seven years of formation and ask their continued prayers moving forward. I look forward to celebrating the sacraments, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with and for them now and in my future active duty service.”
Father Hoffmann, 27, is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati where he took part in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. “Becoming a priest is the greatest blessing and greatest responsibility I could ever receive,” he said. “I have experienced the awe of serving in the person of Christ while celebrating the sacraments. Despite my unworthiness for this sacred office, I know that through the power of my ordination I have been conformed to Christ our great High Priest.”
Both new priests celebrated their “first” Mass on Sunday: Father Kapolka, at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Springboro, OH; Father Hoffmann, at Sacred Heart Church in Cincinnati. Father Kapolka’s first assignment will be as parochial vicar of the Fort Recovery Cluster in the northern part of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Father Hoffmann’s first assignment will be as parochial vicar of a pastoral region around Hamilton, OH.
The eventual priestly service of Fathers Kapolka and Hoffmann is greatly anticipated by the U.S. Military, which continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, only 191 priests are on active duty in all branches, serving a Catholic population of approximately 350,000 based worldwide, not counting their families, to whom the chaplains also minister.
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 www.milarch.org/vocations, or may contact the AMS Vocations Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations in support of AMS Vocations are gratefully accepted at www.milarch.org/donate.