August 28, 2011. (Romereports.com)
When men and women serving in the U.S military are deployed, Catholic chaplains follow them wherever their mission takes them, whether it be on land, air or sea.
This fall 31 new seminarians will join the Archdiocese of Military Services in the U.S.
In past years, the number of seminarians in the Chaplain Candidacy Program had declined.
Last year there were 23. Back in 2009, there were 12. According to the Catholic News Agency, the increase is due in part, to higher recruiting efforts. These include bishops co-sponsoring seminarians. Once ordained they serve for three years in a given diocese before eventually serving as a military chaplain.
They celebrate Mass and the Sacraments. In times of despair and happiness, the goal is to provide spiritual and emotional support to Catholics in the military.
In the past two years, roughly 10 percent of ordained priests, served in the military at one point. Another 10 percent came from military families.
The challenge for most of these seminarians is funding the high cost of their five year education.
According to the vocation's director, next year roughly 40 men are expected to join the Chaplain Candidacy Program.