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News > Archbishop visits Luke, encourages catholics
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in the United States of America, performs a confirmation mass at the Luke Community Chapel during his pastoral visitation of the Luke Air Force Base Catholic Community Oct. 5. The Sacrament of Confirmation bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the person being confirmed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ronifel Yasay)
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Archbishop visits Luke, encourages catholics

Posted 10/14/2011   Updated 10/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by Vanessa Culpepper
56th Figher Wing Public Affairs, Thunderbolt staff writer

10/14/2011 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The catholic archbishop of the military made a pastoral visit to Luke Air Force Base Oct. 4 through 6. He presided over the evening sacrament of confirmation Oct. 5 and daily Mass on Oct. 6.

"I'm making a visit to the catholic community to see how they are doing, and also to let them know that their chief shepherd is concerned about them," said Timothy Broglio, military services archbishop.

"Since we don't have a fulltime priest, it was a high honor for him to visit Luke," according to Lt. Col Theodore Wilson, 56th Fighter Wing chaplain.

The archbishop felt his call to the priesthood from an early age.

After becoming a newly ordained priest, he accepted the assignment as associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary Parish, in South Euclid, Ohio, considering this period the best two years of his life. He then flew to Rome to finish his studies.

Certain that this was where the Lord was leading him, he went on to obtain a bachelor's in sacred theology and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. While there, he served as chief of cabinet for Angleo Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State to His Holiness Pope John Paul II and desk officer for Central America. This marked a fascinating and enlightening time in his life, he said, as he was there right after the Iron Curtain had fallen.

"I started after 1990, so we had a whole procession of leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, all of whom wanted to meet with the Holy Father," Broglio said. "As part of the meeting, they would always come downstairs to see the cardinal secretary of state."

"I participated in a number of those meetings, and considered it a fascinating time of great hope, great expectations, but unfortunately, it was also a time we learned the depth of some of the domination that had occurred in these countries because of the communistic approach to control," he said.

Not only was the archbishop in what he considered a culturally engaging place, but he was also under the tutelage of professors and experts. They had contributed to the preparations of the 2nd Vatican Council documents, and were recognized as experts on a worldwide level.

The archbishop spends 255 days a year on the road visiting bases and serving catholics in all five branches of the armed forces, veteran's administration and hospitals. He visits military academies every year, and will be paying a visit to the Air Force Academy in February.

While here, he visited the Oasis, which is the Airmen ministry center for dorm residents, and the spiritual maintenance center on the flightline.

"The archbishop loved them (the ministries) because of the number of Airmen the chapel comes into contact with," Wilson said. "It's a great amount of foot traffic; we get more than 5,000 Airmen per month during the summer months. They come in to cool their heels from working on the flightline, and we give them cold water and fresh cookies."

After a long string of military installation visits, Luke is the last stop. Constant travel hasn't fatigued him, though, and the archbishop said he was blessed to stop at the base.

"I think it's important for the mission they have," Broglio said. "And also, of course, the fact that there is no uniform catholic priest here, it makes it important to ensure catholic members understand they are included and cared for.

According to Broglio, he was grateful for the welcome he received and uplifted by his visit.

"The people that I'm privileged to serve really are wonderful men and women. They are committed to the country, and they desire to do the best they can. Those are all very inspiring things," he said.

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