It's an exciting time for Word on Fire, as we have just recently donated more than 450 CATHOLICISM DVD sets and study materials to the U.S. Armed Forces. Deliveries are being made to bases and military installations around the world right now, and we're proud to help those who have done so much to help us. Read all about it today on the Word on Fire blog.
On this President's Day, a day for which we honor the those who have worked tirelessly to preserve our freedom, prosperity and human rights, we are proud to announce that Word on Fire Catholic Ministries has donated over 450 CATHOLICISM DVD sets, Study Program Leader’s Kits, books and prayer cards to the U.S. Armed Forces, in order to be distributed to and utilized by servicemen and women stationed domestically and overseas. Integral to the effort was the work of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
The DVDs and study materials have been delivered in time for implementation before Lent.
“The CATHOLICISM Series provides an effective opportunity to engage active duty young adults in the Catholic faith,” Mark Moitoza, the vice chancellor for evangelization at the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, said in a recent press release. “We estimate that there are about 300,000 Catholic young adults in the military, and our archdiocese recently has been making a concerted effort to reach out to these young men and women serving our country."
The donation serves a number of important purposes: notably to catechize an underserved population of Catholics and others who are interested in the faith, to ensure CATHOLICISM is truly global in its reach, and arguably most importantly, to send a humble “thank you” to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.
Beyond the domestic bases, the series and accompanying materials will be used on ships, in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, and among units stationed in the far reaches of the globe in order to teach, evangelize, comfort, connect with and thank our soldiers.
“The CATHOLICISM series is not just a documentary about the Church, but a means of instilling faith, hope and love, especially for those, like the members of the military, who might be separated from loved ones or find themselves immersed in the most difficult of circumstances,” said Father Barron, the series’ host and creator. “It is my hope that this gift will serve as a sign of the Church's comfort and care for all the men and women who serve their country."
The donations were facilitated by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the only archdiocese without geographic borders, which enables priests in over 200 locations worldwide to minister to the 1.5 million Catholic servicemen, women and their families. CATHOLICISM will now be a part of their efforts.
"Father Barron traveled the world in the CATHOLICISM Series, highlighting the beauty and impact of the Catholic faith. Many young adults in the military have the opportunity to visit the museums, shrines and historical places that were highlighted in this series, which shape our understanding of what it means to be a disciple in the world today,” Moitoza said. “These pilgrimages will have the potential to be rich in reflection and response due to the generous gift of Word On Fire to our men and women in uniform."
It’s an unusual time for the military with the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan looming. The end of a war can be complicated for soldiers. There is the relief of returning home, but there is also trepidation about leaving a life that has become familiar, grief over friends lost or injured during conflict, and worry about what personal hardships await at home. It's a lot to bear, but a strong foundation of faith can help.
“We have to unite our suffering to the suffering of Christ,” said Father R. Martin Fitzgerald, a Wing Chaplain at Shaw Airforce Base in South Carolina, and a lieutenant colonel. “You have to know yourself to give yourself.”
The nature of conflict can stir up a lot of emotions—the “what did I just dos?” the “what’s it all fors?” the “what’s nexts?” This is where the chaplaincy kicks in—coaxing a sort of “spiritual resiliency” out of soldiers through Christ.
“It makes them more resilient,” he said of having a strong faith. It guides them “where they have to go to find their safe harbor.”
“We try to break the patterns of isolation,” Father Fitzgerald added, “to open up consciousness to build strong, lasting relationships with God and the people of God, the Church.”
Faith can make the transition smoother, the memories not as painful, the relationships stronger. And this is not just for those heading home, but those entering the military with a concern about making friends only to lose them to reassignment, injury or death. The message? Christ can get them through it.
And, here’s hoping, so can CATHOLICISM.
The following is a testimonial from Father Jeff Whorton with the U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. While it was shot prior to Word on Fire’s donation, the sentiments he expressed were a wonderful boon to our mission, and made us incredibly proud that people like Father Whorton are fighting the good fight.