I hope you will take a moment during your Independence Day celebration to remember that this holiday means more than the 239th anniversary of our country. It is a day to be reminded that the freedom we enjoy has come at a great price. Since that first American Revolution that won our independence, more than 1.3 million servicemen and women made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom.
The price goes even higher when you count the soldiers wounded in conflict. Today, some 4 million veterans are living with life-changing and often debilitating injuries suffered in combat.
Providing pastoral care and guidance to our servicemen and women is a vital part of our Pallottine ministry. For many years, I served as a military chaplain in the United States Air Force. I saw firsthand the importance of the armed forces chaplains in the lives of our soldiers.
My ministry was pastoral – working with the deployment of troops – ministering to them and their families. When young men and women are called to duty, their entire support system changes dramatically. They can feel afraid and alone. Often their faith is their only source of security and hope.
There’s another reason why our chaplains are important to the armed forces. Twenty-five percent of those currently serving in the military are Catholic, yet only 8 percent of the chaplains are Catholic.
Last year at this time, I introduced you to Brandon Olley, who had just started his journey in the Pallottine community as a new seminarian. Brandon wants to be a priest and a military chaplain. Thanks to your prayers and generous support, he has made significant progress on his path, and I’d like to give you an update.
Currently Brandon is a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. He recently received his acceptance from the Chaplain Corps, and is waiting for his official orders as a Chaplain Candidate. Brandon is looking forward to starting his program later this summer.
“I think the Pallottines are wonderful and I’m blessed to be part of the community,” says Brandon. “It’s been great to have so many opportunities.”
I think you’ll agree, it’s not every day that you meet a young man like Brandon. I thank you for your past support of our seminary formation program, which helped Brandon on his path to the priesthood.
We rely on your financial support to sustain our missions around the world, and right here in Baltimore at our St. Jude Shrine. From delivering food, clean water and medicine, to educating the poor and caring for orphans, your blessings will bring hope where there has been none. Your generosity also helps keep the doors to our Shrine open for those seeking answers to their prayers and troubled hearts. Please send your most generous gift today.
I encourage you to embrace the power of St. Jude’s miraculous intercession by sending us your prayer intentions. Perhaps you or someone you love could use St. Jude’s intercession for healing or hope in a desperate situation.
As you celebrate our nation’s independence, I ask you to remember those who have fought for our freedom. Please send us their names. Our Pallottine Fathers and Brothers would be honored to offer prayers for the servicemen and women in your life – living or deceased.
Thank you for helping us bring Christ’s love to the poor. You are a blessing to us!
Wishing you the hope of St. Jude,
Fr. Peter Sticco, S.A.C.
P.S. Your gift today will help support our ministries where the need is greatest. Please be as generous as possible and don’t forget to send your prayer requests. I will make sure they are remembered in the prayers and Masses at our Shrine and in daily Mass that is celebrated on St. Jude’s tomb in the Vatican.