Priests who enlist as military chaplains answering ‘a call within a call’

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — This fall the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services plans to hold its first discernment gathering for Catholic priests to encourage them to consider becoming military chaplains.

The archdiocese regularly holds several retreats a year for young men who are thinking about the priesthood and the chaplaincy, but this will be the first event of its kind for ordained priests, because there is a critical shortage of military chaplains.

“The need for Catholic chaplains is enormous. We have one-fourth of the military population and we only have 8 percent of the chaplain corps,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the military archdiocese. “So there is a tremendous scarcity of priests. This does not apply to all religious groups, however. It really only applies to Catholic priests and perhaps to a lesser extent to rabbis, but otherwise most of the Protestant groups are covered.”

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