In response to a real shortage of military chaplains in all three Armed Services, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Forces, Bishop Richard Moth, has asked servicemen and women and serving chaplains to fervently pray that more priests come forward to serve as chaplains. Prayer cards have been sent out to churches across the Bishopric of the Forces and serving chaplains.
In a Pastoral Letter to accompany the launch of the prayer card, Bishop Moth highlights the chaplains’ vital ministry to service men and women:
“I invite you all to reflect upon the ‘definite service’ that is Military Chaplaincy. This is a priestly ministry that is vital to the needs of the Military community. Every member of the Armed Services, together with their families, will have benefited from the ministry of their chaplain. This is especially the case when personnel are deployed on operations. The chaplain’s presence amongst them speaks of the Hope of the Gospel message.”
Bishop Moth says that “not every priest is called to be a Military Chaplain”, but he does believe that for some “this would be a very real possibility”. The aim of the prayer card, is to “instill in the hearts of priests the desire to dedicate their lives to you as chaplains to our Armed Services.”
In September, the Bishopric will celebrate 25 years as a Military Ordinariate and Bishop Moth is inviting others to join him “in making this year a time of special prayer for an increase in vocations to Military Chaplaincy.”
The prayer card reads:
O Lord Jesus Christ,
instil in the hearts of priests
the desire to dedicate
their lives to you as chaplains
to our Armed Services.
Give them wisdom and strength,
to hear your call.
Give courage and compassion
to those who serve you as Forces Chaplains.
May their hearts be filled
with zeal and love of you
so that your name
may be better known and loved,
for you live and reign
for ever and ever.