Iron sharpens iron! A new initiative in the UK called the Catholic Military Association of Our Lady of Victories

From readers in the UK…

Dear Fr Z

I’m writing to let you know about a new initiative in the UK called the Catholic Military Association of Our Lady of Victories. The Assoc draws it’s membership from serving and reserve members of the Armed Forces as well as veterans and Ministry of Defence Civil Servants (as Associate Members) and was founded just over a year ago. We are officially recognised by the Bishop to the Forces, Bishop Paul Mason (a good and solid man!) and have official standing with the Defence Christian Network (which is required to be a formal Military Association over here).

Our website and social media are here:

In making ourselves known to you, and if you are willing your readership, we would like to ask your prayers as we pray also for you and the Church. Many of us being “hard identity Catholics” are drawn to Tradition as traditions are the bedrock of British Military culture. Knowing your support for the military community we would invite you to join us if you wish (and we have a great Combat Rosary too!) along with any of your readers with a connection or affiliation to the defence of our great nations. Membership information is found on our website.

As we have a number of US facilities in the UK, we have found through our presence on Social Media that we have had a great deal of interest from serving US personnel and we are talking to our allies about how they too can set up an Assoc in the US. Pray for us that we may be successful.

With our prayers and best wishes

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  2. Semper Gumby says:

    This is great. God (Matthew 8 and the Centurion) and Country (Preamble and First Amendment).

    As of two years ago, about 70% of UK and US military personnel are Christian, Catholic and Protestant. The highest percentage of Catholics in one service appears to be the U.S. Marine Corps at 30% Catholic.

    Voluntary associations and “little platoons” are the core of a healthy society and military. The Archdiocese of the Military Services estimates there are 300,000 young Catholics in the U.S. military. Add to that number higher ranking officers and enlisted, and their families. Opportunities for strengthening the faith and evangelizing, fusing God and Country, abound.

    What to do during a long weekend on a military base? Military personnel thrive on teamwork and personal relationships. Anecdotal information suggests recreation is helpful for strengthening faith and for evangelizing (long-winded anti-American harangues agitating for tribal theocracy will be met in the barracks with, at a minimum, derision). Fr. Karol Wojtyla, the future St. John Paul II, guided Catholics during hiking and kayaking trips in Soviet-occupied Poland. Perhaps he was an influence for the following anecdotes from Catholic service personnel.

    Naval Base Kitsap is in the Pacific Northwest, home to ballistic missile submarines and aircraft carriers. Some off-duty military groups camp in Olympic National Park or, inspired by the local farmer’s markets, spend time at local small farms and vineyards learning skills for their own post-military homesteads, or do volunteer work off-base.

    Marine Corps Base Quantico, just south of Washington DC and also home to the FBI and DEA academies, offers free tickets to active-duty and their families to National Parks and tours to heritage sites such as Gettysburg and Yorktown; its paintball park (“Quantico Fields”) includes trenches; rainy weekends are an opportunity for documentaries on Fr. Capodanno and Fr. O’Callahan or a Band of Brothers discussion group; and volunteering off-base.

    Similar Catholic group activities occur at bases such as Ft. Bragg (the MWR there is now FMWR: Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation- free tickets, discounts, etc.), Nellis AFB, and several Coast Guard bases. Military bases also provide auto hobby shops, hunting and fishing clubs, libraries and pet kennels.

    All that said, this idea of Our Lady of Victories from across the Pond is most welcome. The more the merrier.

    Retirees living near military bases have been known sometimes to show their ID to the gate guard and then spend a weekend afternoon on base with young lads and lasses teaching them how to barbecue, change their oil or just sit on the edge of a dock and fish. One never knows who shows up at the Base Chapel on a Sunday morning.

    Abp. Fulton Sheen:

    “All my sermons are prepared in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. As recreation is most pleasant and profitable in the sun, so homiletic creativity is best nourished before the Eucharist. The most brilliant ideas come from meeting God face to face.”

    Then there was that one time Jesus went boating on a lake with his pals and took a nap.

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