Post Office Box 4469, Washington, DC 20017·0469
20 August 2008 Documentation
Office of th e
Arcbbishop Minimum Requirements for the Pastoral Care of Catholic Personnel
Many priests have asked for clarification regarding the Archdiocesan policies on expectations of priest-
chaplains, GS and contract priests and for the pastoral care of Catholics in the military. The following is provided to assist the priest in serving the men and women of the Armed Forces and the Veterans Administration entrusted to his care. It provides clarification on the expectations of this endorsing agent about Catholic ministry, and should be
shared with one's senior supervisor.
Note. The term Catholic as used throughout this and other AMS documents refers not only to the Latin
Catholic Church, but also to all the Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the Apostolic See.
1. Core elements in the life of Catholic personnel that are required for a Catholic Program.
1.1Catholic priests given permission/faculties by the Archdiocese for the Military Services to serve Catholic
personnel are to ensure implementation and support of these elements in the interest of Free Exercise of
Sunday, Holy Day and daily Mass.
Comprehensive Religious Education and Sacramental preparation, with an emphasis on youth
character formation, individual moral development, and military family cohesion and readiness.
Comprehensive Sacramental Ministry. This includes the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist,
Confirmation, Penance, Marriage and the Sacrament of the Sick
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Young Adult Ministry (Catholics Seeking Christ and other programs) focused on spiritual readiness
for active duty (18-29 yrs of age)
2.1. The Senior Catholic priest-chaplain or GS priest will have the final authority over the entire Catholic program on any military installation or Veterans Affairs Medical Center. All assistants or pastoral associates must be
accountable to the priest-chaplain or GS priest in all Catholic matters and must report to him in the interest of the common good of the Catholic community. The contract priest, although having no military authority, will nonetheless serve as the authoritative subject matter expert delegated by the AMS in all Catholic matters when he isthe only
priest at an installation or post. This function shall be specified in his contract before the AMS will consider the
contract valid for Catholic ministry.
2.1.1. If the Catholic priest is not the senior chaplain of the installation, he will always serve as the definitive
advisor to the senior chaplain regarding the Catholic program.
2.2. The Catholic chaplain should utilize a Pastoral Council to assist him in providing for those in their care. Such
councils are consultive and not deliberative. Given that the priest is assigned to care for the active
duty population and their dependents the priest may restrict retiree representation on the pastoral
Minimum Requirements, 20 August 2008 27
3. Primary place of the Blessed Sacrament in the life of Catholics.
3.1. Catholics believe the Blessed Sacrament is the real presence of Jesus Christ in our midst. It is central
to their spirituality.
3.2.The Blessed Sacrament must be reserved on all installations, ships and hospitals that have a priest-
chaplain assigned. Catholics have a right to access the Blessed Sacrament for their devotion and spiritual
growth. When a Blessed Sacrament Room is authorized by regulations, it shall for the exclusive use by the
Catholic chaplain and for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.
3.3. The Blessed Sacrament must be reserved in a safe, reverential and known place (preferably a
tabernacle in a small Blessed Sacrament Room/Chapel) under the exclusive care of the endorsed Catholic
priest. This responsibility of safeguarding and care of the Sacrament must never be entrusted to any other
person or non-Catholic chaplain under any condition. The priest is responsible and accountable for
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) who are trained and appointed to assist him in this
3.4.Only Catholics approved by the Archdiocese may function as Lay Leaders (LL), Catholic
Representatives (CR) and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC). Additionally, the CR and
LL must be active duty in the grade of E-5 or higher. Authorizations are specific as to duration as well as to
location. There is a mandatory training requirement for each of these three functions.
3.5. Priest-trainers are accountable for ongoing communication with deployed LLs/CRs. In the absence of
a priest-chaplain, CRs and LLs, when authorized by the AMS, may conduct a Sunday Celebration in the
Absence of a Priest and the Liturgy of the Hours. However, this will not include the reservation,
transportation or distribution of Holy Communion. Communion Services are not permitted in the AMS.