State Deputy Tony Fortunato presents Virginia's donation of $10,000 for military chaplain vocations to the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, Timothy Broglio at the AMS headquarters in Washington, DC.
May 30, 2014 - Virginia State Deputy Tony Fortunato presented a check for $10,000 to Archbishop Timothy Broglio, of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) to support men pursuing vocations as Catholic chaplains in the U.S. military.
The $10,000 donation is above and beyond the million-dollar “Father McGivney Military Chaplain Scholarship,” established three years ago by the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus to support the seminary education of future Catholic military chaplains.
The AMS has already received the first $600,000 of a $1 million of a pledge for the McGivney Scholarship Fund through 2015. The McGivney funds are dedicated to the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a partnership between the AMS and local dioceses and religious communities to support vocations and fill a fast-growing shortage of Catholic chaplains in the U.S. military.
The shortage comes as more and more priests reach the military’s mandatory retirement age of 62 faster than they can be replaced. Since 9/11, the number of active-duty chaplains has fallen from more than 400 to 229. While Catholics make up about 25% of the U.S. armed forces, Catholic priests currently account for only 8% of military chaplains.
Thanks in large part to the support of U.S. bishops and religious superiors, along with increased awareness and discernment opportunities for prospective chaplains, the number of co-sponsored seminarians has risen from seven in 2008 to 31 today, and still more candidates are on the way. Eight prospective chaplains will be ordained transitional deacons this year, and another five will be ordained priests.
The AMS continues to seek ways to fund a fast-rising seminary bill, now projected at $2.7 million over the next five years. The AMS receives no funding from the government and depends entirely on private donations, such as the $10,000 received today from the Virginia K of C.
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