Dear comrades in Christ, dear AMI friends, and family,
Ahead of the Angelus prayer on 4th Advent Sunday our Pope Francis urged all Christians:
“Instead of complaining in these difficult times about what the pandemic prevents us from doing, let us do something for someone who has less: not the umpteenth gift for ourselves and our friends, but for a person in need whom no-one thinks of!”.
We as military and Christians are addressed by the Pope in two ways. On top of his appeal to all Christians, for us as military we have a task to protect and support freedom, liberty and peace, as-well as supporting civil authorities in all tasks. We still applaud the heroes working tirelessly in the (Covid) health care and from an initial short uphill run they are now in a Marathon run. We military continue to support where we can, with planning capacity, material, logistics, transport, surveillance, and military medical staff. We see now in many nations military supporting Covid Testing and Vaccination. So we as AMI have to “fight” on three fronts; follow the Pope’s call to all Christians, perform our military tasks during the Christmas period, and for many of us accept not being with your families for prolonged periods. But we know how to handle all of this simultaneously, because who and what we are all by the grace and support the Holy Spirit.
As AMI this is what we are doing. We, your Executive Committee, had to cancel the annual conference 2020 in London. Instead, we arranged a Video Tele Conference 2020 meeting in the same timeframe, which worked out to be successful however a meager replacement of the real thing. Breaking news is that after in-depth deliberations with the UK delegation and within the EC, we had to decide to again postpone the London conference to 2022. Covid /Vaccination situation just simply not allow us to take another decision.
We continued to work on the London Declaration, which was discussed thoroughly during the VTC and will be reworked with your inputs by the working group led by Prof. Fred van Iersel.
Unfortunately, the International Military Pilgrimage 2020 to Lourdes was canceled, for 2021 it is expected that it will, if, only go on with very limited numbers (1000), more info is expected mid-January.
The building and preparation of the launching of the AMI app continue, the launch during Lourdes 2021 is of course dependent on the PMI-status as mentioned above.
The work with and within the Vatican intensified with participation in new initiatives. Other actions continue according to our Action Plan.
More details on the annual conference, App launch, and Action Plan will follow and will be forwarded by the AMI Secretary-General Colonel Domenico D’Ortenzi.
Now it’s time for celebrating Christmas again in “an unusual way”. As I said in my Easter letter we have to be creative and find ways to let our faith, hope, and love triumph over darkness. Let’s prepare to welcome Jesus Christ: Happy Christmas!
Let me conclude my message with the blessing and good wishes of AMI Ecclesiastical Assistant Brig. Gen. Dolan Fr. Patrick: “May the Lord watch over each of you, your families, and all our military especially those deployed into harm’s way and far from home at this sacred time. May He give you wisdom and hope — combined with a deep fraternal love for each other that radiates the Christmas joy …. +from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”. Amen!
Matthieu J.M. Borsboom
Vice Admiral rtd
President Apostolat Militaire International