The Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military Service – the Military Ordinariate, is a very special diocese. It is different from other dioceses in that it does not have geographic boundaries, rather it is charged with the pastoral care of the uniformed members of Australia’s navy, army and air force, their families and the civilians employed by the Department of Defence.
From the very beginning of Federation, the civil and military authorities recognised that when citizens join the armed services, they would be called upon to become involved in the defence of our nation. This service will often place them in great danger and in situations that are chaotic and very distressing. Of course, we readily accept that they must be supported by the community in every way possible. From the very beginning, it was recognised that one of the areas that must be addressed is their religious and spiritual welfare. Arrangements were entered into between the civil authorities and the Churches so that this care could be given. Churches were invited to supply clergy who could provide this care to the Services.
The mission of the Military Ordinariate is to ensure that the pastoral care of all those associated with Australia’s defence is provided at the highest possible level. This requires chaplains to be both holy and dedicated clergy and thoroughly trained professional members of the Armed Services. It is a unique and challenging ministry. In simple terms, we are dedicated to serving those who serve. Australia is best defended by members who, enlightened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, are dedicated to their vocation to be special ministers of peace, freedom and security. This is a commitment that includes readiness, sacrifice and a spirit of solidarity beyond even personal and family interests. Service personnel will make a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace by being the first to work to overcome the temptation of violence and by working to defend the rights of peace and love. It is the vision of the Diocese to be a people affirmed in faith, energised by hope, motivated by love. Leading us to be particular ministers of peace and stability.
“Just as so many Australians draw strength and inspiration from the members of our Defence Force, many of them draw support and pastoral care from the Catholic Military Diocese. I commend the work of the Catholic Military Diocese and their efforts to contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of Australian servicemen and women through faith.”
General Sir Peter John Cosgrove AK, CVO, MC
Former Governor-General of Australia
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