CV NEWS FEED // The United States’ Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) has appointed a new interim Director of Vocations who is bringing strong background experience and enthusiasm for the priesthood to help address the “chronic shortage of Catholic military chaplains.”
Twenty-five percent of the U.S. military is Catholic, or some 325,000 persons, not including their families. There are currently 190 Catholic chaplains among the military chaplain corps to minister to these soldiers and their families.
“The U.S. Military continues to suffer a chronic shortage of Catholic chaplains as aging priests retire from all branches faster than they can be replaced,” AMS stated in an email press release. As such, the newly-appointed interim Director of Vocations Father Marcel Taillon “will have his work cut out for him” in addressing the shortage.
Taillon, 58, has been serving as a pastor in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, for the past 17 years, where his parish “[counts] among its membership servicemen and women from nearby Naval Station Newport.”
He is also “a chaplain for the Narragansett Police and Fire Departments and the South Kingston Police Department. He is a longtime program host on Relevant Radio, helping pursue its mission ‘to bring Christ to the world through the media.’”
Taillon will begin his vocations ministry for AMS on April 15. He “is well suited for the position with experience as a vocations director and recruiter in his home Diocese of Providence, and director of spiritual formation at Our Lady of Providence Seminary,” AMS stated:
As AMS Vocations Director, Father Taillon will be in charge of shepherding young men expressing an interest in the priesthood and U.S. Military chaplaincy through the process of discernment and formation.
AMS highlighted that Taillon is a cradle Catholic born in Rhode Island and that he “began to discern his own vocation in his 20s while traveling the country as a pharmacy operations analyst for CVS.”
Taillon “was ordained a priest in Providence on Sept. 1, 1994, following five years of formational study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome,” AMS added:
Fluent in French and Italian, Father Taillon holds a Degree of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“the Angelicum”), a Licentiate in Moral Theology from the Pontifical University of St. John Lateran, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and the Humanities from Providence College.
AMS stated that Taillon “welcomes the opportunity” as Director of Vocations.
“I feel called to it,” Taillon stated. “I have a great passion for seminarians, for priesthood. I love the priesthood. I love our country and those who serve our country and are willing to sacrifice every day, in and out of harm’s way.”
Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy Broglio stated, “I am so pleased to have a priest with Father Taillon’s experience in this very important role for the Archdiocese. He will bring many gifts to the task.”
“I am also very grateful to Bishop (Richard G.) Henning for releasing him for this ministry,” Broglio added. “In a time when priests are low density and in high demand, I know that his absence from the Providence Diocese represents a sacrifice.”
[Taillon] “succeeds Father S. Matthew Gray, Ch, Capt, USAF, who was recently called back to his home Diocese of Charleston, SC, following two years as AMS Vocations Director, and is now deployed in the Middle East with the South Carolina Air National Guard,” AMS stated.
AMS praised Taillon’s predecessors in the Director of Vocations role for also helping address the Catholic chaplain shortage.
“Through [their] hard work… the AMS has seen a sharp increase over the past 15 years in young men completing formation to become priest-chaplains through the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, a vocations support partnership between the AMS and cooperating U.S. dioceses and religious communities,” AMS stated:
Many new priests and chaplains have come through the program and 34 are currently enrolled, up from just seven in 2008. Father Taillon will serve as their primary AMS contact, mentor, and spiritual counselor.
“I know one thing that’s for certain,” Taillon said:
Everyone tells me that the quality of the seminarians who are co-sponsored is amazing. Seminary staffs I know, and other priests who have met them, say they’re just incredibly men of great quality and integrity with a zeal to do what they know they’re getting ready to do, so hopefully their witness and their meeting other people inspires other men to come forward and be open to the ministry.
Taillon said, “I think the Lord always sort of prepares all of us, whatever we do in life. He prepares us to serve Him at the next step so I feel like I’m at least prepared. I have a lot to learn but I do feel ready to go and support our vocations.”