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Newly Ordained Deacon Sets Sites on “Vocation Within a Vocation” - Serving Those Who Serve in U.S. Army

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — The Reverend Mr. James W. Craig, (1LT), USAR, a candidate for the Catholic priesthood and United States Military chaplaincy, was ordained a transitional deacon on Saturday, June 8, in his home Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX. The new deacon is on track to be ordained a priest next year and hopes eventually to serve as a Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Army, providing pastoral care to Catholic soldiers and their families with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).

The Rev. Mr. Craig received the diaconate at Corpus Christi Cathedral through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Michael Mulvey, STL, DD. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Neal J. Buckon concelebrated the 10:00 a.m. ordination Mass. Two other seminarians from the Diocese of Corpus Christi were also ordained at the same Mass. Among those in attendance were the Rev. Mr. Craig’s parents, U.S. Air Force veteran Stephen Craig and wife Ann, brothers Paul, Dan, and John, along with their families, his sister Kate and her family, and another sister who is a perpetually professed religious, Sister Mary Rachel, SOLT.Watch video of the ordination Mass.

The Rev. Mr. Craig, 27, holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Philosophy with minors in Theology and Sacred Music from Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. Now in San Antonio, he is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity (M.Div) and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) through the Oblate School of Theology while pursuing priestly formation at Assumption Seminary.

The Rev. Mr. Craig says he began to discern his vocation at a young age. “I wanted to be a priest since I was about eight years old,” he says, “a desire that was fostered through serving at the altar and singing in our cathedral schola. Then I learned about military chaplaincy when I was beginning high school, and that call has stayed with me ever since.” He looks forward to serving God’s people with joyful anticipation. “I am really looking forward to offering blessings, and to baptizing children -- especially one I already have scheduled for a niece or nephew currently on the way!” 

The eventual service of the Rev. Mr. Craig and other Catholic chaplain candidates is greatly anticipated by the Army, which, like all other branches of the U.S. Military, continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains. Currently, the Army has only 82 priests on active duty and 53 in the Reserve, serving a large Catholic population of more than 250,000 soldiers spread worldwide, not counting their families, whom Army chaplains also serve.Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information at milarch.org/vocations, or may contact AMS Vocations Director Father Marcel Taillon at vocations@milarch.org or (202) 719-3600.

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