The commemoration of Veterans’ Day offers Catholics the opportunity to pray for the souls of those who have fallen and for the consolation of those wounded, says the archbishop of the U.S. armed services. “Veterans’ Day invites us to pause for a moment and reflect on the lives of men and women who respond and responded to the needs of our Nation,” said Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, in a Nov. 7 statement. “As it is November, a month dedicated to prayers for the dead, we remember many members of the Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice or who died of natural causes later in life.” The archdiocese is responsible for pastoral care and ministry to the 1.8 million American Catholic military members, veterans, Department of Defense contractors, civil service employees working abroad, and their families stationed around the world. Priests, deacons and lay ministers provide spiritual support and sacraments to Catholics on 220 military installations in 29 countries, 153 VA Medical Centers, and combat zones and warships across the world. The archdiocese also offers catechesis programs, faith formation, record keeping and other pastoral support to the faithful. Even though chaplains for the Archdiocese for the Military Services are members of the armed services, and it ministers to government employees and their families, the archdiocese does not receive any money from the U.S. government, nor does it receive any money from weekly collections in U.S. military chapels, as those funds are distributed according to military funding regulations. The Archdiocese relies upon private donations, such as those to be raised at the upcoming 6th Annual Benefit for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA in Washington, D.C. to support its $ 5.1 million operating budget. These funds also help the archdiocese train Catholic chaplains to address its shortage of priests. Archbishop Broglio urged that the faithful not forget “those who continue to suffer the effects of their wounds either in mind or in body,” and to pray for these veterans’ “consolation and healing.” “The occasion is also propitious to remember the families who mourn the loss of a loved one or who support a disabled Veteran,” he noted. “We pray and offer them our support.” Veterans' Day, observed annually on Nov. 11, grew out of the tradition of Armistice Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of World War I.
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