WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) announced today that Father James Stump, OFM Cap, a chaplain based at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, was named one of six finalists for the Catholic Extension Society’s 34th Annual Lumen Christi (“Light of Christ”) Award. The Lumen Christi Award was established by Catholic Extension to highlight an outstanding individual who has shown a special dedication to serving people in his or her under-resourced diocese.
At the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto, Father Stump makes daily rounds visiting sick or wounded and suffering veterans and their families, providing friendship, hope, prayer and the sacraments, all with one purpose in mind: inviting them to encounter the living Christ. A former corporate lawyer who did not enter the seminary until he was 40, the Kansas-born Capuchin is known for his cheerful personality and sense of humor, sometimes playfully advising wheelchair-bound vets to “watch the speed limit” around the hospital. He told Catholic San Francisco in a 2010 story that “Just the way we enter a room is important: being a little upbeat, wanting to be there… I sometimes pray that the angels and saints go before me to take care of any problem.”
As a finalist for the Lumen Christi grant, Father Stump and his archdiocese, the AMS, will each receive $5,000 from Catholic Extension to support their continued ministry to Palo Alto veterans.
Father Stump was nominated for the grant by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services. Archbishop Broglio expressed his appreciation to the Catholic Extension Society for choosing Father Stump as a finalist.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“I am very pleased and thankful that the Catholic Extension Society recognizes the pastoral care that Father Stump provides for veterans and their families in their time of need. His ministry of presence touches those who have served our country as they struggle with illness and injury. Father Stump brings hope, prayer and friendship to veterans in physical, emotional and spiritual pain as well as families suffering alongside their loved ones. He pursues his ministry with grace and humor, putting those under his care at ease. I extend my blessings and gratitude to the Catholic Extension Society for its support of Father Stump’s ministry.”
Father Stump said:
“I was completely surprised and humbled by Archbishop Broglio’s nomination for the Lumen Christi award. These kinds of things do not happen to me. I am pleased that it highlights our wonderful veterans and the many hardships they endure, not only in their time in service, but the many ‘scars’ they carry throughout life. It is truly an honor and a privilege to work with them. They renew my faith each day.”
Catholic Extension, based in Chicago, is a national fundraising organization committed to supporting and strengthening under-resourced Catholic communities across the U.S. The organization provides funding resources to dioceses and parishes through programs and services investing in people, infrastructure and ministries. This support is given based on need, passion and commitment to the growth of the Catholic faith. Since 1905, Catholic Extension has distributed nearly $500 million to communities across America. For more information, visit www.catholicextension.org.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services, based in Washington, D.C., is the only jurisdiction of the Catholic Church responsible for endorsing priests for on-site ministry at more than 200 locations throughout the country and around the world to Catholics and their families in the U.S. armed forces, VA Medical Centers and overseas civilian posts. Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 million Catholics depend on these priests to serve their spiritual and sacramental needs. The AMS receives no funding from the government and has no parishes to support its work with weekly donations. It depends on grants and donations for survival. For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, visit http://www.milarch.org.