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Dear comrades in Christ, dear AMI friends, and family,
At the Angelus prayer on the 4th Sunday of Advent our Pope Francis recalls how Mary:
“Arose and went with haste to visit and assist her relative Elizabeth”. In a similar way, the Pope says we can reach out in generosity towards others and bring the joy of Jesus as Mary did with Elizabeth”.
Last year the Pope spoke about the pandemic and reading last year’s Christmas letter to you I could easily repeat that letter because it somehow feels as we are in the same position as last year. However, the Pope again is stepping out and over the pandemic by pointing us on what we can do: “assist, reach out and bring joy”.
And that is what we as military and Christians are doing. We continue to assist in protecting and supporting freedom, liberty and peace. We reach out in supporting civil authorities in all tasks. Last year I wrote about (Covid) health care workers running a Marathon, they still do and we military continue to support them with admiration. Bringing joy is something we can do as a Nation to other nations (reconciling), we can do it as Defence forces (collaborating), as a military unit (on a mission) and as a military individual (always respecting humanitarian dignity). We can bring joy in our military capacity and as a person (is it separable?).
It is not easy as AMI military to conduct all these different tasks at home, on mission, standby to act “with haste”, missing the family; which especially during Christmas is hard for both: home front and the deployed military. However, we will cope because the military is a family in itself and also at home they stick together, all inspired by the Holy Spirit and in these days as well by the expectation of Jesus birth.
So the message is again; we continue our mission with confidence! As AMI this is exactly what we are doing. We, your Executive Committee, had to cancel again the annual conference in London. Instead, we arranged the Video Tele Conference meeting in September, with the experience we gained last year it was even more successful, however we really look forward to the London conference now in 2022. The Executive Committee (EC) is thankful for the mandate by unanimous vote, for a second term 2022-2024. And from this place I want to thank the members of the EC for their endless efforts and willingness to continue.
We finalized the London Declaration, which was endorsed during the annual conference. An abbreviated version was added. Again, many thanks to the working group led by Prof. Fred van Iersel.
Unfortunately the International Military Pilgrimage 2021 to Lourdes was cancelled, for 2022 we expect more information mid-January.
The AMI app is recently finished, tested and ready to go, a launch plan is constructed, now material to promote the launch is produced, big thanks to the Strategic Communication Board, Father Remery (TwG) and nations supporting financially.
The work with and within the Vatican continues however not be able to visit for many, many months is becoming challenging. The work with the Forum of Catholic Inspired NGOs continues but fully digital. 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. Let’s be alert and ready to arise and go with haste, how familiar to the military! We prepare to welcome Jesus Christ: He who brings joy, Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2022!
Let me conclude my message with the blessing and good wishes of the AMI Ecclesiastical Assistant Brig. Gen. Dolan Fr. Patrick: May God bless you and the nations you serve – letting you be instruments of His holiness by your good example to military of every age and background even in times of restrictions or struggles. May God use you to bring light and hope, and be a blessing to all you meet. Amen!
Matthieu J.M. Borsboom
Vice Admiral rtd