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Ministry to Armed Forces

Ministry to Armed Forces personnel is a continuing need in our diocese. Large numbers of young people continue to enter and serve in the military, and subsequently return to civilian life at the end of their tour of duty. Parochial ministry to those who serve in the Armed Forces should include prayers and recognition when they leave for active duty, when they return home on leave, and when they finally return to civilian status. Caring for their families while the loved one is deployed is also part of our call. Placing service men and women on parish mailing lists and sending them an occasional letter does much to cement home ties and bring the service person home as an active parishioner.

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It is the goal of the Diocese that all parishes become “military and veteran-friendly.” You may think that since your parish isn’t near a base this doesn’t affect you. There are about 115,000 active-duty service members in San Diego County, but did you know that almost 23% of the county’s population is made up of veterans? That’s about over 194,000 people! And that doesn’t include their families. Yuma has about 5,300 Marines and 3,400 family members stationed there and about 11,000 Marines rotating in for training. That’s a lot of military people and they live in your surrounding neighborhoods. Did you know that veterans are 10 times more likely to go to clergy than all other Mental Health Providers? Often they are seeking a more comfortable place, like a church or clergy for help with their problems. We can be there for them!

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Becoming a Military and Veteran-Friendly Congregation

In association with the Military Chaplain Association, the “Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation (VMFC) was conceived to promote a sense of community, acceptance, and support for Veterans and their families.” Our churches can be those places where our military and veterans find support.

A key aspect of our Diocesan Military Ministry is to build programs that act as a support structure for military members, veterans, and their family members in our parishes. Building Military Ministries in each congregation is our goal.

We look forward to working closely with congregational leaders in providing resources. For you to be recognized as a “Veteran Military Friendly Congregation or Ministry” you need only to follow through with these steps:

  1. Complete the appropriate VMFC enrollment form at https://vmfc-usa.org/
  2. Discover who in your community has served in the military.
  3. Designate a member of that group to be a point of contact with VMFC.
  4. Invite us to lead a discussion with your congregation about the needs of your particular veterans and military families.
  5. Design a ministry to meet the specific needs of your veterans and their families. We can help you with that part.
  6. Your commitment toward becoming a VMF congregation begins with raising awareness among parishioners that you now have this program in place. We urge you to publish this ministry in your bulletins, newsletter, blogs, and websites. Your veterans and their families need to know they can turn to your parish for assistance.
  7. Provide permission to the Military Chaplains Association and their affiliates to list your congregation information on their website.

We stand ready to help you. Thank you again for what you will do to serve those who have served! We invite you to view this video for more information:

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