Dear comrades in Christ, dear AMI friends and family,
“opens crises into new horizons, perhaps not as we would expect, but in the way that He knows how. God’s horizons are surprising, but infinitely more grand and beautiful than ours!”
And crises we have seen this year. In January we were hopeful with the pandemic sort of behind us. However only three days before our visit in February to the Vatican for annual talks Russia invaded Ukraine. An unprecedented act of aggression in Europe which led us to deliver a statement. Many endevours have been made to bring peace by all levels in our church. For us as Catholic Military to see this level of brutal violence directed to civilians is painful. Also the feeling of not being able to assist and end this conflict is difficult. But many initiatives around the world are taken in the spirit of “opens crises into new horizons”; accommodating many refugees from Ukraine, financial support, aid, advice, training, reconstruction, medical support. Initiatives from institutions, governments, but also individual people. We as AMI were able to find a sponsor to have the AMI CMC app translated in the Ukrainian language in order to support the Ukrainian Catholic/Christian military in their faith.
This war has impacted many military in their personal life. New missions were arranged on short notice. Military were assigned abroad, send overseas, tours extended, etc etc. All of this impacting also our military families and their plans and dreams. For all those far away from home this Christmas; keep up, keep faith and keep pushing! For the families back home; stick together, celebrate in faith and prepare for the arrival of the new family member; Jesus!
So for AMI our “horizons are surprising“ as well? Indeed because this year finally we were able to hold a “real” AMI conference again. This time in August in London (after postponing for two years). This first time in the UK was a great event, for which we thank our hosts tremendously! The London declaration was already promulgated before (and used as a basis for the statement on Ukrain). The theme of the conference “moral injury” led to fruitful discussions giving insight how to diagnose, treat and most important prevent moral injury. Next year our annual conference will be held in Mechelen, Belgium!
The intended launch of the AMI CMC app from the Vatican was postponed (because of the invasion) but we could launch the app from the opening ceremony of the International Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes in May. With more the 10.000 young military present in the Basilica by video Cardinal Parolin (Secretary of State) was so kind to introduce and promote the CMC App. During Lourdes many national delegations were briefed on the App.
Recently the Executive Committee attended the Forum of Catholic Inspired NGO’s in Rome working on coordination and collaboration of all the good work conducted by so many Catholic NGO’s around the world (AMI one of those NGO’s). All in need of one thing to do there work which is: a minimal level of security and safety.
More details on next years conference, actions from London, status of the App and new initiatives, will be forwarded by the AMI Secretary-General Colonel Domenico D’Ortenzi in newsletters and the Action plan.
Now let Christmas come! Make space in our hearts, something “grand and beautiful” is arriving shortly. God’s greatest gift, his son Jesus Christ will be born to bring joy and salvation to mankind. Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2023!
Let me conclude my message with the blessings and good wishes of the AMI Ecclesiastical Assistant Brig.Gen. Dolan Fr. Patrick: Despite severe weather and wars in various places, the Lord still comes to us as a tiny helpless child–filled with immense love. May that love of God fill your hearts this Christmas and fill you with a warmth and joy which surpasses anything this world can offer. Blessings be yours this season and all throughout 2023 from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!
Matthieu J.M. Borsboom
Vice Admiral RNLN rtd
President Apostolat Militaire International