“The Military Way of the Cross” is a free Lenten devotion released by the Military Council of Catholic Women, a subsidiary of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). It is our hope that these Stations of the Cross will allow you to dig deeper into your faith, and will draw you closer to the constant source of support, life, and love – our Creator.
What is AMS?
Less than ten percent of the American population currently serves in the United States military. Created by Pope John Paul II, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) serves all active duty Servicemembers and their families throughout the world, placing a numeric value on their Faithful at more than 1.8 million men, women, and children.
Every single Catholic Servicemember is automatically considered a member of AMS, when they enter military service and designate their religion as “Catholic.” No matter where, or even if, they choose to attend Mass, they are a member of AMS.
In the words of our Archbishop, His Grace Timothy P. Broglio, AMS is, “the only diocese in which the sun truly never sets.” From Servicemembers’ deployments to the Middle East, to Asia and the Pacific Islands, to Europe, South America, and the continental United States, and the seas in between, our Faithful span the globe.
Most military installations provide Catholic Mass at various times throughout the week. But that is always entirely dependent on whether or not that service’s Corps of Chaplains can provide a Catholic chaplain, or the installation can provide a civilian priest who has been contracted to provide Mass on a government installation.
Some Servicemembers, while deployed, are not able to attend Mass. Instead, they rely on receiving spiritual communion, when a Catholic priest chaplain cannot make it to their remote location.
Faith – the one constant in a nomadic life
The military lifestyle is rather nomadic – families move every few years, there are separations between family members as a Servicemember is taken away for deployments or long-term, unaccompanied separations, and there are irregular work hours.
When a Servicemember does not get paid because Congress is unable to pass a budget and the government shuts down, the Servicemember is still required to report to work and continue their duties.
Throughout the entire ups and downs which come from military life, there is one constant which can be found within a Catholic military family:
The consistency of their Faith, and the fullness of Truth which can be found in the Catholic Church.
Within the doors of a military chapel, in the midst of Mass, we are connected with the scores of saints in Heaven, some of whom themselves led nomadic lifestyles.
Who else supports Catholic military families?
Other organizations exist to help provide care to families.
Many installations worldwide offer a Catholic Women of the Chapel (CWOC) group – whether it is known as CWOC or some other name. Essentially, the mission of installation CWOCs is to provide service, fellowship, and faith-based support to the Catholic women within their communities – whether the woman is an active duty Servicemember or a family member.
However, in order to best support individual CWOC groups at various installations worldwide, AMS sponsors a non-profit subsidiary known as the Military Council of Catholic Women (MCCW).
According to their mission statement, “MCCW reflects the visible presence of Christ in military communities by forming women in spirituality, leadership and service.” Any woman who is affiliated with AMS is automatically considered a member of MCCW, regardless of whether or not they attend their local installation for Mass, or CWOC, or any other chapel-based group.
By virtue of being a Catholic woman within the military community, she is automatically granted membership in MCCW, with no dues attached!
MCCW Faith Resources
This past Advent, MCCW released some O Antiphon Reflections, aimed at military families. These reflections included specific prayer intentions for each day of the O Antiphons.
They also provided insight that the struggles most military families face are not unique to the individual family, but instead, are representative of the unique lifestyle our military families lead.
Based on the feedback received for those O Antiphons, MCCW agreed to release a project for Lent 2018.
The Military Way of the Cross
The author of the O Antiphon Reflections paired with a fellow military wife, and created “The Military Way of the Cross” for a Lenten reflection.
Each Station of the Cross tackles unique aspects of the military culture and lifestyle – from a family or an active duty Servicemember’s perspective. Each Station depicts at least one Servicemember in their drawing.
It is our hope that these Stations of the Cross, available for free download from the MCCW website, will allow you to dig deeper into your faith, and will draw you closer to the constant source of support, life, and love – our Creator.
Furthermore, it is our hope “The Military Way of the Cross” will allow you to fully embrace the penitential, reflective season of Lent.
Even if you are not a military family, these Stations may assist the reader in getting to know more about the various challenges our military families face as they experience their lifestyle. And, there may be some similarities between both the military and civilian lifestyles which allow you to receive some spiritual benefit from these particular Stations.
As civilian parishes nationwide consider hosting Soup & Stations this Lent, and as military Catholic communities join together worldwide to host their own Stations, MCCW hopes “The Military Way of the Cross” will be a way to pray specifically with, and for, our United States military and her families.
May this Lent 2018 be truly, spiritually transformative for each and every single member of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA – and, for every faithful Catholic in the world.
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