Final Results of the General Assembly and Annual Conference of Apostolat Militaire International in Reichenau an der Rax, Austria, September 8-12, 2019
The 54th Apostolate Militare International (AMI) international Congress met at Reichenau, Austria, 8-12 Sept 2019 on the topic of Selfless Service within the Military with 3 military bishops, 41 delegates and 9 family members from 14 countries over 4 continents. Talks by each of the bishops reminded us that selfless service has deep roots in the bible, from the Old Testament prophets to Our Savior Jesus Christ to the early Christians in the New Testament. Examining the AMI vision paper and action plan reveals that same focus—in ways that help the individual, their families, the community, their military and nations and indeed the whole world benefit from that selfless service. Our Austrian hosts, both in presentations and on our cultural day, demonstrated how that is lived out in their national context by (1) connection with the local community (including with churches and the economy) in ways that are deeper than are possible in many other nations and (2) their very careful exercise of strategic neutrality over the last 64 years since their independence. Indeed, even their military cadet emphasized that self-realization can come best through such selfless service, while one of the talks by their generals reminded us that self and family go together best when one finds the right marriage partner and is completely honest with her/him about the challenges of military life.
Because of the interaction of AMI with Vatican/Holy See officials, the invitation to dialogue on strategic issues was supported, including replying to questions from Vatican/Holy See agencies on data from military families as well as interaction with other organizations. The General assembly also approved a statement of protection of youth and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse as required by the Vatican for all of its inspired NGOs, reviewed its financial workings, and held elections for its auditor and Ecclesiastical assistant.
AMI strives to intensify exchange and cooperation with UN institutions, and to intensify actively ecumenical exchange, both with the orthodox and oriental churches and Protestant organizations like ACMF and MMI. AMI further intends to initiate a dialogue with Pax Christi International and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and any other organizations especially on issues of nuclear deterrence, humanization of warfare, cyber warfare and hybrid warfare. Additionally, the concepts of freedom of conscience and of religion for military members worldwide can be examined in the context of Human Rights.
Tools for helping live that selfless service included the above advice on finding the right partner, but also were augmented by a presentation by the Philippines on its special preparation for entering marriage (to reduce too-quick marriages that end in unhappiness), as well as ongoing wellness incentives that include marriage maintenance skills which accompany the couples throughout their whole military career. Other tools included how even our own hands can show us that we are cooperators with others rather than competitors despite promotion challenges: that we give each other respect and a helping hand whenever possible. Values that come in different colors reminded us that each person likes different things and respect serves them where they are not just in our own way or style. A final tool presented was the AMI App, being developed in conjunction with the “Tweeting with God” App, as well as a discussion of initiatives on how best to launch it at the Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2020. With God’s grace, we will meet next June 28 to July 3 in London.
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Documents and results of AMI Conference 2019 in Reichenau are available here.