Knights of Columbus support for Military Chaplains and Vocations
The idea for the scholarship developed during Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson's visit to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. While watching flight-qualifier tests with an assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, the supreme knight had the opportunity to think about Catholics in uniform and the hardship they face of having to go weeks — and sometimes months — without being able to attend Mass or receive spiritual guidance from a priest.
"It can be very difficult for Catholic members of the armed forces when they're on forward deployments," Anderson said. "The U.S. military archdiocese, which supplies Catholic chaplains, estimates that it needs 800 priests to fully serve all of the Catholic men and women in uniform today, but they are only able to supply 280 — barely a third of the number needed."
The military chaplain scholarship aims to provide a solution to this problem. According to Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the scholarship money will be dedicated to the archdiocese's "Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program," which was initiated to recruit priestly vocations for the military for the benefit of the armed forces as well as participating dioceses and religious orders throughout the country. Through this program, the military archdiocese contracts with each participating diocese to fund 50 percent of the cost of a seminarian's five-year education — typically $12,500 per year. In return, the candidate agrees that following ordination and three years of service at a parish, he will commit to serve as a military chaplain under the auspices of the military archdiocese for a minimum of three to five years.