"My weapon is the bible"
Says Rev. Luis Silva. I like his quote. The Columbian born Catholic priest with the Orlando diocese will be reporting for Army Reserve duty on June 10th.
The day after the Rev. Luis Silva became a new citizen of the U.S., he learned that he will put his life on the line to serve it.Read the entire article. Congratulations Fr. Silva on your citizenship and thank you for serving our country. Many people born in this country could take lessons from you in what responsibilities come along with citizenship in this country. Too many people take our freedom for granted. God bless.
The Colombian-born priest at St. James Catholic Cathedral in downtown Orlando will report for duty as an Army Reserve chaplain June 10.
He will work unarmed in the deserts of Iraq or Afghanistan, tending to the souls of the soldiers fighting the war on terror.
"My weapon is the Bible," Silva said this week.
While his parishioners will miss Silva, Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando said his services are needed overseas.
"A priest needs to be where the people are," Wenski said Wednesday.
After Sunday Mass, church members plan a send-off for Silva during which they can say their goodbyes.
Silva, 40, decided to serve in the Army Reserve because there's a shortage of Catholic chaplains in the military, he said.
In 2002, 369 priests served as chaplains on active duty, according to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, a special archdiocese for priests in the military.
More than 300,000 Catholics are in the military.
The military needs about 800 chaplains to meet Catholic service members' needs, according to news accounts.
Two priests from the Orlando area are currently serving in the armed forces, Wenski said. Priests have been chaplains since the Revolutionary War.
Chaplains accompany soldiers to counsel them and provide religious guidance.
They must be recognized by their faith as a member of its clergy and endorsed as spiritually, morally, emotionally and intellectually fit to serve.
They need to have a graduate degree in theology or divinity studies.
Citizenship is expedited
Silva's citizenship swearing-in took place May 22 and was expedited so he could serve overseas, he said.
The priest's military and priestly ambitions began when he was a boy in Cali.
He wanted to be a priest. Or in the Air Force. He couldn't decide.
"Like any boy, I wanted to serve and wear a uniform," Silva said.
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