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Archbishop blesses first copies of new edition of prayer book for military

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WASHINGTON — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services Nov. 9 blessed the first of 100,000 copies of the new sixth edition of the "Armed with the Faith" Catholic prayer book for members of the military.

Knights of Columbus volunteers, including some currently serving in the military, delivered the copies to the archdiocese's Edwin Cardinal O'Brien Pastoral Center in Washington.

The prayer books will be sent to active-duty U.S. military serving around the world.

Developed by the Knights in partnership with the military archdiocese, the books are designed to hold up in arduous conditions, with features including waterproof and tear-resistant stock, and plastic binders that enable the turning of pages without a sound.

"Throughout my military career, my fellow soldiers and I were strengthened and comforted by a daily commitment to prayer, as we asked for God's intercession to protect our nation and help us preserve our freedoms," Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly wrote in an introduction to the new edition.

"It's my hope that today's active-duty military personnel will find the 'Armed with the Faith' Catholic prayer book their indispensable resource for reflection and prayer," he added.

Kelly, installed in the Knights' top post in March after his election in February, spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy, serving on land and sea, on active duty and reserve status.

As a judge advocate general, he specialized in international and operational law and served as the commanding officer of the international law unit at the U.S. Naval War College. He served on the staff of the deputy chief of Naval Operations and aboard the USS Guam as the staff judge advocate for Amphibious Squadron Two.

He is the recipient of three Navy Achievement Medals, five Navy Commendation Medals and the Meritorious Service Medal. He retired from the Navy Reserve JAG Corps in 2016.

Commenting on the prayer book distribution, Archbishop Broglio said: "Once again I renew my gratitude to my brother Knights of Columbus who actively contribute to the spiritual growth and welfare of the men and women in uniform and their families. 'Armed with the Faith' is a precious example of their solicitude, which is expressed in so many ways."

He praised Kelly for continuing "a great tradition of patriotic service to our country" both as a retired naval officer and now as the Knights' CEO in New Haven, Conn., at the fraternal organization's headquarters.

Since 2003, more than 600,000 copies of "Armed with the Faith" have been given to Catholic U.S. servicemen and women, including those in National Guard and Reserve units.

The Knights of Columbus Catholic Information Service also publishes a home edition of "Armed with the Faith" for distribution to military families, veterans, members of ROTC units and students at the U.S. military service academies.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021