WASHINGTON, DC – His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, has awarded the Medal of the Archdiocese, its highest honor, to two prominent military Catholics. Father Paul K. Hurley, CH (MG), USA (Retired), received the medal in a May 30 ceremony at Fort Myer celebrating his retirement as U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, a post he has held for the past four years. At the U.S Army Garrison Hawaii, meanwhile, the garrison’s Catholic Pastoral Life Coordinator, Mrs. Tracey Harger (pictured), received the medal on June 11.
In letters approving the awards, Archbishop Broglio wrote, “the Medal of the Archdiocese, granted infrequently, is given only to an individual who demonstrates qualities worthy of special recognition.” Those qualities, the Archbishop explained, include “exemplary moral character… fidelity to the teachings and mission of the Church… and devotion and service to the Catholic community.”
On behalf of Archbishop Broglio, Auxiliary Bishop William (Bill) Muhm presented the medal to Father Hurley. Fathers Jason Dechenne, CH (CPT), USA, and John M. Shimotsu, CHC, CAPT, USN, presented the medal to Mrs. Harger at a Mass in the Soldier’s Chapel, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Father Shimotsu’s priestly ordination.
In their nominations of Mrs. Harger, Fathers Dechenne and Shimotsu noted that over the past three years, she has regularly volunteered up to 40 hours a week in unpaid service, “setting up and preparing for our various Masses and services, teaching sacramental preparation courses, preparing paperwork for sacramental records” and providing “sustained leadership for the community when priest-chaplains were often unavailable due to duties in their own units, deployments, or convalescence.”
Mrs. Harger, who spent three years on active duty as an officer in the Army Transportation Corps, is married to Col. Rick Harger, USA, the Army’s Director of Combat Capabilities Development Command-Pacific. The couple has three children. Upon receiving the medal, she said, “I am humbled by the incredible honor to receive the Medal of the Archdiocese from Archbishop Broglio. It has been my joy to volunteer as the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii’s Catholic Pastoral Life Coordinator, working with military and contract priests along with staff and many fellow volunteers to support and strengthen our military Catholic community. I feel that the award is a celebration of every effort that each person who contributed to our program over the past three years made, whether it was child care during an event, or someone leading one of the ministries. It is an honor for which I am deeply grateful.”
The front side of the medal features an image of the risen Christ taken from the Roman Catacombs and encircled by the words “Lord, God of Hosts.” The reverse side features the Coat of Arms of the AMS. The medal is awarded each year to no more than five recipients.