DECEMBER 23, 2014 – MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy new Year
This picture I took inside St. Mary’s Cathedral in Erfurt/Germany and it shows a Christmas Eve scenary. It is a wood-carving dating to 1470 after Christ.
The presidency of AMI wishes you all MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May Christ bring peace to all soldiers, families and trouble spots worldwide.
Next year we concentrate on the 50 years celebration of AMI and its conference in Santiago de Compostela, therefore también.
¡Feliz Navidad y todo lo mejor para el año 2015!
Norbert Sinn, GenMjr rtd, President of AMI, December 2014
DECEMBER 2, 2014 – Informal AMI Meeting in Erfurt
On 2 December, 2014 AMI-President GenMjr Norbert Sinn informally met LtCol Andreas Preuss from the GKS for discussing the project of our jubilee-book.
Col. Preuss will take the responsibility for it beginning 2015 and proceed with Michael’s work on our book.
They even discusssed actual developments and ideas for the future.
Just one week later Gen. Sinn met the Austrian AKS-presidium and assisted a one day conference of the AKS, talking about AMI-news, and contributing to current questions of supporting the military hierarchy by the work of the AKS.
The foto shows Erfurt’s St. Mary’s Cathedral and the St. Severus’-Church.
12.-14.11. 2014 AMI Meetings in the Vatican
This time, the AMI-Presidium travelled to Rome and to the Vatican for several reasons:
We had the pleasure to take part in the General Audience, held by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, on November 12 and our president got the opportunity to speak to the Holy Father and explain our work. While speaking to him the president handed over some papers about AMI, especially the results of our last conference. And, as every time, it was an exceptional spiritual experience to see him and listen to him.
The second reason was a meeting with Padre Guilio Cerchietti, responsible for the coordination of the military ordinariates. We discussed not only the results of the conference in Slovakia, which he assisted, but also the possibilities to get more nations on board.
During our discussion he mentioned the coincidence that just before the military pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2015 a conference of military ordinariates will be held in Paris. He stated that it would be an excellent idea to invite AMI to this conference and to enable some delegates to contribute to the items to be discussed.
The third reason was the introduction of AMI to the Pontifical Council for Culture. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Bishop H. E. Msgr. Carlos Moreira Azevedo were extremely interested in the topics discussed. We decided to stay in contact and that AMI will support the work of the Council of Cultures as much as possible.
The fourth reason and even more important was the invitation of the Italian Military Bishop Archbishop Santo Marcianò to visit not only the Ordinariate, but discuss the possibilities of a better cooperation between lay people and the Military Ordinariate of Italy in the future. We were happy to hear from the Italian Military Vicar General that Italy will send representatives to our next year’s conference, and that there shall be found new possibilities of cooperation of the Lay with AMI.
The fifth reason, and from our point of view in this very situation the most important one, was our Pontifical Council for the Laity. After two years of work and internal discussion, as well as discussions with the Vatican, we resembled to receive the Statutes of AMI as an international organisation accepted by the Holy See. It was a solemn moment, when His Eminency, Cardinal Stanisław Rylko spoke about AMI and its work, and that the Holy See is happy with the work we are doing for Christianity and the Holy Church.
The sixth reason was another meeting with the Secretariat of State, which developed in friendship as all the years before. We reported about our work and our future plans.
At last the AMI Presidium held an internal meeting to discuss the upcoming year and its goals and challenges. We spoke again about the conference of Santiago, the problems we feel to face, our jubilee-book, and how to get more nations on board.
Happy about the results of our journey to the Vatican and Rome we left on Friday afternoon, going back home.
Jan and Nelleke had a meeting with the Dutch Ambassador to the Holy See, His Royal Highness, Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, who cordially invited the whole Presidency for a drink, next time we are in Rome.
Answers from Argentina and Chile
One of the challenges for AMI is to get into contact again not only with some European Countries, but with the Latin American ones too. Some letters are on their way, some of it caused a friendly response. Meanwhile the Argentine Military Ordinariate and even Chile answered in a positive and encouraging way.
In this link you also can find the homily of the Holy Father of november 12, 2014.
For the complete pictures follow this link to our Rome Picture gallery.
NOVEMBER 2014 – New Statutes Online
Revised by the AMI Executive Council in March 2013 and approved by the AMI General Assembly in September 2014.
The new Statutes are online. You can find them in the basic documents section.
OCTOBER 14-16, 2014 – AMI Meeting in Vienna
AMI-President and Vice-President met again Militarybishop František Rábek during an enquete, organised by the Austrian Institute for Peace and Religion of the Austrian Militarydiocese, to say thank you for hosting the AMI-conference of 2014 in Slovakia.
Generalmajor SINN presented a gift to Militarybishop Rábek and expressed again his gratitude for the hospitality showed to the members of the conference and the excellent work of the slovakian organisational team. Further he expressed his hope to remain in contact with Bishop Rábek and to meet again as soon as possible.
MajGen Sinn addressed the audience of the enquete and informed them about goals and work of AMI.
It was great to meet not only again our friends from Spain, but many others too, amongst them and important, the Militaryarchbishop of Italy, Santo Marcianò.
OCTOBER 2014 – Jubilee Publication
table of contents – AMI 50 – jubilee publication
OCTOBER 2014 – first Impressions of our Assembly
The annual general assembly of the Apostolate Militaire International (AMI) took place in the period from 09/21/14 to 26/09/14 in a conference center near the city of MODRA, one hour’s drive north-east from BRATISLAVA on the slopes of the Small Carpathians.
The thematic starting point for this conference was the current AMI motto for the period 2012 – 2014 with the title “The Christian Soldier In The Service Of Just Peace. To Live Authentically According To The Word Of God And To Spread The Gospel”. Resting on this topic the emphasis of lectures, discussions and working groups was in the range of the Jubilee Year 2014. Considering the outbreak of the First World War one hundred years ago, the ethical and moral challenges for the future have been examined. The so-called “Cold War” was just as much the focus of historical analysis, as the exposition of an African and Hispanic perspective of the current political situation and future problem areas associated. Of course, the delegates ventilated the current critical developments, such as the efforts of the Islamist Jihadist-Salafist terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS) with the aim to fight for the forcible establishment of a caliphate.
At the special request of our host His Excellency the Military Bishop of Slovakia, František Rábek, the first Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis “Evangelii Gaudium; On The Proclamation Of The Gospel In Today’s World” has been analyzed and the “AMI-Family” proceeded to work out how far this Papal message can be considered as an inspiration and as an ethical and moral challenge for Christian soldiers.
Connected to the comprehensive output of this year’s AMI conference I want to express my deep thankfulness to Father Dolan for his outstanding summary “Evangelii Gaudium For Military In Light Of the Centenary Of World War One”. You will find it as an attachment on our AMI homepage.
As you know, we celebrate our golden AMI jubilee in 2015. I am charged with the creation of a jubilee anniversary edition. Like the elaboration of Father Dolan you will find the table of contents of our jubilee documentation as an attachment. We have asked all AMI member countries to send us a contribution about the subject matter “development, current state and challenges for the Christianity in their armed forces” and if possible an individual prayer dedicated to the soldiers until our AMI General Assembly 2014 in Slovakia. General Major Sinn gave us some additional specifying remarks for this required contribution:
- Deeply rooted in Christian Catholic values – what role does Christianity (Catholicism) play in your Armed Forces?
- Are Christian Catholic values a fundament of (political) acting?
- Are Catholics accepted and does Christianity still form an integral part of military acting?
- Current situation of the lay people and of the military chaplaincy in your country.
- Challenges for the future of the lay people and of the military chaplaincy in your country and especially – if applicable – challenges for the future of the Catholic military lay organisations in your country.
- Your contribution should not be longer than two pages. We are looking forward to your input.
PLEASE. We need your editorial at least at the end of December 2014!
As you know from our last conference in Slovenia, we have decided to start a social project and to collect money for the construction of a “Military Chapel” in Gambia. Our friend from Gambia, Fr Joseph Carl Gomez, asked AMI for a helping hand. The estimated costs are about 800.000 dalasi, that’s about 18.000 Euro. The Austrian Association of Catholic Soldiers (AKS) has already initiated a successful fund-raising campaign. We kindly ask our AMI member- and associated countries to support our project too. Deadline for the transfer of the donations will be December 2014.
Austria was elected unanimously by open ballot for the AMI Presidency and the Netherlands were elected unanimously by open ballot for the AMI Secretariat General. Major General Norbert Sinn of Austria will assume again the Presidency of AMI for the following three years. At his side are the new Vice President Lieutenant Colonel MA Friedrich Aflenzer and Staff Master Sergeant Markus Stromberger. The team of the Netherlands consists of the Secretary General Nelleke Swinkels van de Vorst, Vice Secretary General Col (ret) Jan van Lieverloo and the Treasurer Adjudant ret. Herman Vriesema.
We are thankful that Slovakia offered to be the host of our conference in 2014. Our special gratitude has do go to His Excellency Bishop Rábek, who is the initiator of the project “AMI Conference Slovakia 2014”. At the same time we also need to honour his team for the exemplary hospitality and the excellent organization of our conference.
Spain will organize the upcoming AMI Jubilee General Assembly. It will take part in Santiago de Compostela between September 6 and 11 in 2015.
At the end of our Conference in Modra, a member of the delegation of Gambia, Fr Joseph Carl Gomez invited AMI to come to Gambia for the General Assembly and Conference in 2016.
The author of this report: Colonel Michael Jedlička
AUGUST 2014 – Meeting of the presidency in Carinthia early August 2014
The presidency of AMI met informally in Glainach, a village south of Klagenfurt, where the vice-president of AMI, WO II Markus Stromberger, organised a youth camp for 180 young people from different countries including Afghanistan. Place of the camp is a minor training area of the Austrian Armed Forces.
Themes of the meeting were again the conferences of 2014 and 2015 as well as the plans for the upcoming years.
JULY 2014 – Last Preparatory meeting for the AMI-Conference in Slovakia
On july 30, 2014 the presidency of AMI met last time before the beginning of the conference Military Bishop Frantisek Rabek in Marianka. Together they travelled to Bratislava first to inform the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Mgr Mario Giordana in Slovakia about AMI, its goals and tasks and the the conference itself. The Nuncio promised to do what he can to join us during the conference!
Later on a courtesy visit at the secretary of state in the Defense Ministry took place.
Mr. Milos Koterec, the State Secretary, thanked for organizing the conference in Slovakia and expressed the importance of it. He underlined the importance of Christianity even in the Armed Forces and that the MoD will substantially support it.
At least Military Bishop Rabek and MajGen Sinn visited that military cemetery of WW I in the outskirts of Bratislava, where a laying of a wreath is planned as a starting point of our conference.
JULY 2014 – Second Preparatory Meeting in Madrid for the jubilee’s conference 2015
On 3 and 4 July, 2014 AMI president and secretary general met the Archbishop of the Spanish Armed Forces, Mons. Juan del Rió Martín and the responsibles of the Vicariate General, led by Don Pablo Ramón Panadero Sanchez, for talks concerning the planned conference 2015, which will form the 50 th anniversary of AMI.
After two conferences the unanimous result was to hold the conference in september 2015 in that town, where 1965 AMI was founded: Santiago de Compostela.
It is great to get so much support by the Spanish Military Archbishop and we are happy to be able to receive our AMI members and friends next year in Santiago de Compostela.
The preparational work for it will start after our conference of this year.
JUNE 2014 – INVITATION and PROGRAM from our UPCOMING ASSEMBLY is now online
General Assembly of the Apostolat Militaire International (AMI)
September 21 – 26, 2014
The AMI Conference and General Assembly will discuss under the overall topic of AMI 2012 – 2014
The Christian Soldier in the Service of Just Peace. “To live authentically according to the Word of God and to spread the gospel”
“100 years after the big war and the moral and ethical challenges for the future”
“How can Evangelii Gaudium be inspirational for military personnel in the future, moral and ethical?”
And the following subtopics:
The this year’s General Assembly and Conference of the Apostolat Militaire International (AMI) will be held in
SLOVAKIA at a conference centre near MODRA
(Modra is a city and municipality in the Bratislava Region in Slovakia)
MAY 2014 – AMI wishes all of you a peaceful and enlightening Pentecost. May the Holy Spirit come upon you!
MAY 2014 – the 56th INTERNATIONAL MILITARY PILGRIMAGE to LOURDES
It looked like any other military parade with bands playing, flags waving and thousands of men and women marching in colorful uniforms decorated with medals and ribbons. But instead of impressive displays of tanks and trucks, troops from dozens of nations fell in line behind religious banners, a large wooden cross and a rose-strewn statue of Mary. Candles and rosaries – not weapons or rifles – were held aloft in soldiers’ hands. Such scenes were common during the 56th International Military Pilgrimage to the sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes May 16-18.
More than 12,000 retired and active duty military personnel, their families and compatriots from 36 nations took part in the annual encounter to pray for peace and the spiritual healing of nations and individuals. A large number taking part, and given special prominence in the many processions, were those wounded in the line of duty. The weeklong program provided opportunities for prayer, the sacrament of reconciliation, personal reflection during a Way of the Cross procession, eucharistic adoration and celebrating Mass. Participants could take part in candlelight vigils to the Massabielle grotto where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858, drink the water flowing from the sanctuaries’ spigots and be immersed in the special baths inside chambers near the grotto.
Attending during the larger international military pilgrimage was important for all participants showing and demonstrating that they can come together to truly yearn and pray for peace. Silent and solemn ceremonies segued into pomp and pageantry as military bands roamed Lourdes all hours of the day and night, belting out national anthems, marching tunes and folk songs. The camaraderie and celebration easily crossed cultural lines as soldiers from different nations asked to have their pictures taken together and traded berets and insignia.
The theme of the international military pilgrimage, “Servant of Christ, Servant of Peace”, has really struck a chord with all of the soldiers joining this impressive pilgrimage.
“Peace is a precious, but fragile” treasure, Pope Francis said in a written message read aloud during the international opening ceremony in the underground Basilica of St. Pius X May 16. “Soldiers have an irreplaceable role in building peace when they put themselves at the service of the people in guaranteeing order and restoring security”, said the message, written and signed on behalf of the pope by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The pope expressed his gratitude for the generous service of so many men and women and reminded them that “serving Christ inevitably leads us to serving peace, since it’s in him that we become brothers and sisters, capable of dialogue and peace”.
The unique international gathering of armed forces from sometimes warring nations at the sacred Marian shrine in southern France started after World War II when French, Russian, British, Belgian and U.S. soldiers celebrated Mass at the Rosary Basilica as part of a prayer for peace.A German military chaplain and former prisoner of war was invited to attend the pilgrimage in 1947. And as more and more soldiers and countries began participating, the gathering became an official annual event in 1958 – on the 100th year anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to St. Bernadette.
Also many friends of our community, who participated in this pilgrimage, have met in the old tradition of cultivating camaraderie and sharing their experiences in a friendly atmosphere. You are invited to watch some photos of this meeting of our “AMI-FAMILY” in Lourdes.
APRIL 2014 – HAPPY EASTER to all our members, friends and associates
Happy Easter to all our friends and members of AMI – this year a little bit different from the last one (no cold, no snow..)
MARCH 2014 – PREPARATORY MEETING in MARIANKA
the AMI presidium came together for a meeting with the Slovakian Military Bishop Frantisek Rabek on 28 and 29 march, 2014 in Marianka.
Marianka is a peaceful and beautiful place of pilgrimage, situated at the northern slopes of the Small Carpathian Mountains, where the seat and office of the Military Bishop are organized.
Marianka can be translated to “St. Mary in the Valley” (or St Mary in the Woods)- and the woods surrounding Marianka are really marvellous!
Marianka is the oldest place of pilgrimage to St Mary in the Slovak Republic!
The conference itself shall take place in a beautiful governmental hotel site nearby the Slovakian town of MODRA, just vis-a-vis on the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains
With this meeting end of march we put together all necessary things for a successful conference, e.g. contents, place of conference, accomodation modalities, and so on.
Bishop Rabek and his team are supporting us substantially and all are doing excellent work to make possible an interesting and rich in substance conference of AMI in autumn 2014!
MARCH 2014 – THANKS to all AMI friends
Dear friends of AMI,
On behalf of Bishop Tumulak of the Philippines I want to thank all Military Bishops and AMI friends who donated money for the people of the Philippines after the hurricane Hayan, last November. Together we collected an amount of € 40.994,04. The money was used for the rebuilding of the houses of the Philippine soldiers. Again, thank you very much!
JANUARY 2014 – WORLD DAY of PEACE / COLOGNE
AMI President Norbert Sinn assisted the holy mess of the German Bundeswehr, celebrated by H.E. cardinal Meisner in Cologne 23 January, 2014 on the occasion of the world day of peace 2014