Baby bishops' course in Rome leaves mark on new bishop for world's largest archdiocese

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The Baby Bishops course just concluded in Rome, with 105 participating bishops from all over the world. They met with various Vatican Dicasteries, had events together and even had an audience with the pope.

One who came from the United States is Bishop Joseph Coffey. He says after the week of learning so much, one aspect in particular stood out.

U.S. Military Auxiliary Bishop
“The one takeaway I think, I would like to remember is to always be listening, listening to the people. To be a shepherd, a father for them, and to try to include people in the discussions.”

He is currently an active-duty Navy Chaplain in California and has been on active-duty for nearly 20 years. He had previously served as an aircraft carrier with the Marines and has been in Afghanistan for seven months.

Now, Coffey is assigned bishop for the largest archdiocese in the world, the Archdiocese for the Military Services. It is composed of every U.S. Military member around the globe. 

U.S. Military Auxiliary Bishop
“I will be with the Veterans Administration hospitals. So we have over 150 veterans hospitals in the U.S. with priests who are endorsed by the military archbishop. So I will be their Vicar. So I will be starting in January after I finished the active duty.”

Bishop Coffey is eager to begin this new stage of overseeing and caring for the priests who are doing this job and also administering to the countless veterans who are limited to their hospital rooms.

U.S. Military Auxiliary Bishop
“It's going to be very enjoyable to meet them to hear their stories. I can tell them some of my stories, and then administer the sacraments.”

Joseph Coffey said going into his new role, he's eager to share common experiences with the veterans, both of being in the military and as Catholics.

Melissa Butz

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