To the Editor:
As an American Catholic citizen, I enjoy reading Father Bill Kneemiller’s columns about his service as the Army Reserve’s 649th Regional Support Command Chaplain.
Because military service requires extraordinary sacrifices of those who serve, and their families, chaplains like Fr. Kneemiller strive to be available to offer guidance, education and direction on Church doctrine or simply to listen. They go wherever their people are — in a tent in the desert, on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in the barracks on base, on a firefighting line, in the chow line, etc. They provide a place where those in the military can take comfort and draw strength from the sacraments and reflect on the responsibilities and challenges they have taken on to protect their fellow Americans.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, which supplies Catholic chaplains, estimates 800 priests are needed to serve the 1.8 million Catholic men and women in uniform today, but they are only able to supply 280.
The Knights of Columbus several years ago established a military chaplain scholarship to provide a solution to this problem. Scholarship money raised will be dedicated to the military archdiocese’s Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, which was initiated to recruit priestly vocations for the military for the benefit of the armed forces and participating dioceses and religious orders. Through this program, the military archdiocese contracts with dioceses to fund 50 percent of the cost of a seminarian’s five-year education — typically $12,500 per year. In return, the candidate agrees that following ordination and three years of service at a parish, he will commit to serve as a military chaplain under the auspices of the military archdiocese for a minimum of three to five years.
For more information, or to make a donation, contact your local Knights of Columbus or visit http://www.kofc.org/un/ en/military/scholarships.html.
To the Editor: