By Michelle Bauman
Washington D.C. (EWTN News): The Archdiocese
for the Military Services has received $200,000 from the Knights
of Columbus to create a new fund that will offer scholarships to
educate future Catholic military chaplains.
“The Knights of Columbus, over many years, has
been most generous is providing much needed financial support to
this Archdiocese as well as providing it with a wide range of
programs and services,” said U.S. Military Archbishop Timothy P.
Broglio in a July 10 statement.
“The Father McGivney Military Scholarship is but
the latest instance of the organization’s generosity, and for
that I am most grateful.”
Named after the Knights' founder, Venerable
Father Michael McGivney, the scholarship will help to
financially support seminarians' education through the
archdiocesan Seminarian Co-Sponsorship Program.
Created by Pope John Paul II in 1985, the
Archdiocese for the Military Services is the only archdiocese in
the United States that does not have geographical boundaries.
It serves Catholics in the U.S. armed forces,
military academies and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, as well
as those working in civilian jobs for the U.S. government
archdiocese says that approximately 1.8 million Catholics across
the globe rely upon it to provide for their sacramental and
However, increasing educational costs are threatening to further
a recent Catholic chaplain shortage that has been created as
priests are retiring at the mandatory age of 62 more quickly
than younger men are coming in to take their place.
Although Catholics account for approximately 25
percent of the U.S. armed forces, Catholic priests now comprise
only eight percent of military chaplains. The number of
active-duty chaplains has dropped from more than 400 to just 243
increase numbers of priests both in the military and in diocesan
and community life, the Archdiocese for Military Services set up
the Seminarian Co-Sponsorship Program in cooperation with U.S.
dioceses and religious communities.
The program supports priestly vocations stemming
from the armed forces. According to Georgetown University's
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, about 20 percent
of newly-ordained priests consistently come from military
families, and almost 10 percent have previous military
Through the co-sponsorship program, a diocesan bishop or
religious superior accepts a seminarian who plans to become a
chaplain in the armed forces. The military archdiocese and the
seminarian’s home diocese or religious community each pay half
of the seminarian’s educational expenses, including tuition,
room and board.
being ordained and spending at least three years in a diocese or
community, these priests are generally given permission by their
bishop or religious superior to enter military service. When
they leave the military, they return to pastoral work in their
diocese or community.
In support of this program, the Knights – who are the largest
Catholic fraternal organization in the world – have pledged $1
million to the McGivney Scholarship through 2015.
“The Knights of Columbus has for many years
enjoyed an unmatched friendship with the Archdiocese for the
Military Services,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
He explained that he is “delighted” to be able to
“extend our legacy of support through this important program to
support both seminarians and the military, two cases near and
dear to the hearts of all Knights.”