With more than 250,000 Catholics between the ages of 18 and 29 on active duty, the U.S. military provides the Church with a tremendous pool of potential priestly vocations. These military members have chosen a vocation that demands sacrifice, self-discipline, obedience, and valor – all fundamental attributes for the priesthood or religious life. In the same way that all dioceses have an obligation to assist young men in the discernment of a vocation to the priesthood, the Archdiocese for the Military Services does her part in inviting and prayerfully guiding those in the military so that they are equipped to decide if they will enter a seminary for a US diocese or religious order.
In 2008, the AMS initiated a long-term program to recruit priestly vocations from the military for the benefit of US dioceses, religious orders and the armed forces. As part of the program the AMS has made a contractual commitment with US dioceses to fund 50% of the cost of the five years of seminarian education ($25,000 per year). In return, the candidate and diocese agree that, once ordained and having served in a parish for three years, the priest will commit to serve as a military chaplain in the Armed Forces for three years or more. There are 30 co-sponsored seminarians in the program from 22 US dioceses and studying in 16 seminaries.