Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Soldier, Chaplain, Shepherd (Auxiliary Bishop Rick Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military)
Arling Catholic Herald ^ | 01-11-12 | Fr. Eric Albertson

Posted on 01/14/2012 8:37:32 PM PST by Salvation

Soldier, chaplain, shepherd
Auxiliary Bishop Rick Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services wears many hats.
By Fr. Eric Albertson | For the Catholic Herald
Fr. Eric Albertson | For the Catholic Herald
Bishop Spencer with Staff Sgt. Jeremy Todd, chaplain assistant who provided security for the bishop during his recent deployment to Afghanistan.

He is a priest, a soldier, an Army chaplain and yet he is also a bishop, serving as an auxiliary for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services. Chaplain (Col.) Rick Spencer wears many hats besides his zucchetto, including the Army patrol cap, the field “boonie” cap and an Army combat helmet.

A former military police officer commissioned in 1973, he answered the call to the priesthood in 1980 and was ordained for the Baltimore Archdiocese in 1988. Having served initially in the Army Reserves, he later joined the active force and served with distinction in many varied assignments, including Bosnia, Egypt, Korea, Germany and multiple combat deployments to Iraq, making him no stranger to the battlefield.

Answering the call from Rome, he was ordained a bishop in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8, 2010. Unique in the history of the military archdiocese, he has retained his status as an Army chaplain in the Reserves, allowing him to deploy in support of combat operations and provide needed sacramental and spiritual support to troops in the forward areas.

His most recent deployment landed him at the largest military base in Afghanistan, Bagram Airfield, in support of one of his former combat units, the 1st Cavalry Division. In his well-known and energetic style, Bishop Spencer hit the ground running, generously providing pastoral care, visiting the wounded, celebrating Mass and administering the sacrament of confirmation to Catholic troops stationed at Bagram. He also traveled north to administer confirmation to the American Catholics located at Camp Marmal in the German sector.

Bishop Spencer said he always finds it humbling and rewarding to work and serve in a “joint environment” — one that includes the Air Force, Navy, Marines, as well as the Army. Although his roots are with the Army, as a military bishop his concern is for all branches of the service.

“The privilege to support the different branches with pastoral care, and seeing them work together to bring peace, stability and hope to the people and nation of Afghanistan is very rewarding,” he said.

Yet the reward goes both ways. The Bagram congregations, made up of the different branches, all commented how special it was to have the bishop celebrate Mass for Advent and the Christmas season. The media has not been covering the war here as it has in the past. Although tremendous success occurred last year, the fighting is still very intense. Bagram was hit with indirect fire several times during the bishop’s visit, helicopters routinely brought in the wounded, and multiple ramp ceremonies and memorial ceremonies were conducted to honor the fallen. The long hours and continuous combat operations, the cumulative effects of grief, and the emotional strain associated with caring for the wounded take their toll. Most of these troops have deployed multiple times.

Sometimes it takes a little more grace when the spiritual need is so great, perhaps only the grace and presence a bishop can bring, one who possesses the fullness of the priesthood, one who is soldier, chaplain and shepherd.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; military; soldiers
Bravo for Bishop Spenser, recently in Afghanistan, and all the Chaplains!
1 posted on 01/14/2012 8:37:41 PM PST by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Pray for the chaplains.

Also pray that more Catholic priests will also serve as Chaplains.

2 posted on 01/14/2012 8:38:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Soldier, Chaplain, Shepherd (Auxiliary Bishop Rick Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military)
Catholics Seek to Boost Number of Priests Serving as Chaplains
Catholic Chaplain Finds UK Troops in Afghanistan Hungering For Religion
U.S. troops in Afghanistan
Cross removed at base in Afghanistan
Mass During Wartime
The Traditional Latin Mass -- in Afghanistan
Uncle Sam attracts more (Catholic) military chaplains
Evangelical Chaplains Refuse to Marry Gay Couples on Military Bases
Over 2,000 Evangelical, Orthodox Chaplains Join Catholics in Opposing Pentagon on Same-Sex Marriage

2,000 Evangelical, Orthodox Chaplains Join Catholics in Opposing Pentagon Directive on SSM
No Same-Sex Weddings at West Point's Catholic Chapel, Says Military Archdiocese
Conflict between Pentagon and Catholic military chaplains brews over ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
The (Catholic) Church's Noblest at Ground Zero
More men asking about becoming military chaplains
Catholic Caucus: Fr. Emil Kapaun: The Good Thief
Catholic Military Chaplains: America's Forgotten Heroes (Ecumenical)
Fr. Emil Kapaun Beatification Cause Heads to Rome [US Army Chaplain]
Two US Soldier Priests
Chaplain Groups Ask Military to Create Religious Liberty Protections

Australian Padre helps deployed soldiers tackle life challenges (Former SAS soldier turns chaplain)
Army says chaplain is first killed in action since 1970
Army Chaplain Dies in Afghanastan
With God in Iraq: A Day in the Life of a Military Chaplain
Soldier's Death Led Catholic Priest to Become Chaplain
Mass at National Shrine to honor Servant of God and heroic Navy chaplain
Prison chaplain remembers ("Behind the Walls with the Man Behind the Stole")
"Thanks God... and Thanks Mom" (Senate chaplain recalls his mom's amazing last day on earth)
Priest a wartime legend (Most decorated chaplain in Canadian army history dies at 106)
Catholic Navy chaplain shares story of Iraqi conversion (from 12/04/07)

3 posted on 01/14/2012 9:10:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Thank-you Bishop Spenser for your service BOTH to God/Church and to the USA.

4 posted on 01/15/2012 4:13:17 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson