by Ethan Mack
Ethan is Executive Editor and a Senior Staff Columnist.
This Sunday, November 10, there will be a national collection held for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) is a Catholic diocese established in 1985 by Pope John Paul II. Its mission is to tend to the pastoral needs of Catholic men and women in the military and provide them with the sacraments. AMS sponsors all Catholic chaplains in the military and aids them in providing these essential services to those in uniform throughout the world.
In their general meeting last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decided to hold a national collection to benefit AMS. This was decided because unlike every other diocese in the country, AMS can't hold annual appeals or collections since it has no parishes. Also, despite common misconceptions, AMS doesn’t receive a penny from the U.S. government and relies completely on private donations in order to continually function
I've heard many Catholics tell me that we should not support AMS because its existence is counter to Catholic teaching on peace. As someone who spent last summer working at the Archdiocese, I can tell you that nothing is further from the truth. AMS isn't about supporting war; it simply works to support those who fight in them. My time there was spent in the office for evangelization, and I spent most of my time working on youth ministry programs for youths living on military bases. Never once did I feel I was working for a pro-war organization. In fact, the only time I was tasked with writing anything about the ethics of war is when Archbishop Timothy Broglio (BC ’73) asked me to write something concerning Catholic teaching on peace for the Archdiocese's website.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services truly performs a vital service for both our soldiers and our country. This is why I would strongly recommend that you consider donating something to the AMS collection this Sunday.