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Military archdiocese gets creative in recruiting Catholic chaplains

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Father Mikolaj L. Scibior had a curious journey to the U.S. Army chaplain training school at Fort Jackson in Columbia. The 36-year-old Polish immigrant from Pulawy, who was ordained in 2005 in his native country, met Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services in 2013 while serving as a […]

For God and country: a series on the military chaplaincy

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates there are 1.3 million active duty and 811,000 reserve men and women serving in all five branches of the U.S. military, about 25 percent of whom are Catholic. Yet, there are only 214 priests on active duty serving in the U.S. military. Catholic News Service has created a series […]

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Bishops struggle to balance needs of their diocese and country

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Father Lukasz J. Willenberg was seen as an extraordinary priest by parishioners at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Barrington, Rhode Island, and his future looked bright within the Diocese of Providence. Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin took notice of the charismatic young Polish immigrant who seemed to excite young Catholics at his parish while […]

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Catholic military chaplains sometimes find peace in a war zone

SAN DIEGO—It may sound like an oxymoron, but Father Michael A. Mikstay says some of the most peaceful moments of his military chaplaincy have been spent in a war zone. Knowing that he is bringing peace, comfort and pastoral care to the men and woman serving their country in a combat zone has given the […]

Catholic peace activists see conflict in priests serving in military

BROCKTON, Mass.—The military chaplaincy is overwhelmingly popular within the ranks of the U.S. armed forces, but some Catholic peace advocates see a theological conflict with regard to priests serving as commissioned officers. Melkite Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy of Brockton sees a conflict of interest for a priest to serve in, and be paid by, any […]

Deacons gather in Rome and reflect on ministry

ROME—Thousands of permanent deacons and their wives began their Year of Mercy celebration by cutting straight to the heart of what it means to be a deacon, how the ministry impacts their families and the challenge of explaining their vocation to others, including bishops and priests. The pilgrims divided into language groups and hundreds of […]

Military families depend on chaplains for more than spiritual guidance

GREAT FALLS, Mont.—As U.S. Air Force Maj. Justin Secrest organizes moving boxes in the family garage, his wife, Jennifer, surveys the kitchen to see what she can do without before the movers come in a few weeks to take their belongings to their new home near Kansas City, Missouri. It will be the 13th move […]

Military chaplaincy has long history in U.S. armed forces

COLUMBIA, S.C.—When Father Adam Muda arrived at the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson earlier this year, he noticed prominent signs for a museum that showcased the history of what he was about to become. The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps Museum has such a prominent place where priests and clergy from other […]

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Priests see difference in parish ministry and military chaplaincy

SAN DIEGO—There is something distinctive about the chapel where Father William J. Brunner now celebrates Mass. It floats. To be more precise, it’s in a space aboard the U.S. Navy’s warship USS America docked in San Diego. The fresh-faced, 31-year-old priest is one of the newest members of the Navy’s chaplain corps, having graduated from […]

For God and country: Priests navigate U.S. military as chaplains

WASHINGTON—At first glance, it’s difficult to distinguish Father Lukasz J. Willenberg as a Catholic priest as he gathers with U.S. Army paratroopers preparing for a training jump at Pope Field near Fayetteville, N.C. Instead of wearing the traditional black clerics, the 34-year-old Polish immigrant is sporting fatigues, a camouflage helmet and a contraption strapped to […]

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