Catholics everywhere have an obligation to attend Sunday Mass, but how can they do this in a military setting?
Cadets of 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp, specifically the Catholic Cadets, were in luck when there was a field Mass held at Densburger Base Camp on July 11, 2021 during their refit from rigorous field training exercises.
Field Mass is not necessarily an uncommon occurrence, however this one stood out because of its host: Bishop Richard Spencer.
Bishop Spencer is a highly recognized member of the Church, who has traveled across the country and world doing religious work, meeting the Pope and various world leaders along the way. As a member of the Army himself, he has spent over fourteen collective years overseas as an active duty Chaplain, and rose to the rank of Colonel.
Despite his accomplishments, he would never consider himself above holding crowded services in small tents to dirty Cadets who were fresh from three days in deep woods. “It’s difficult during their training for them to break out and go to a chapel, so we come to them,” said Spencer. He has done thousands of services before, even in combat zones.
It may not seem like much, but attending a Mass ceremony and allowing a little room for spirituality can mean a lot to a Cadet or soldier when they are in the field.
“It brings a lot of joy, especially during this time at camp and out in the field … it can just bring you down,” said Cadet Molly Mohan of Auburn University. “It’s super important.”
“I see it as more of a return to normalcy,” said Cadet Aiden Swearingen from Lafayette College. “To step away from the training we have been doing, it’s just a nice relief.”
“They’re under a lot of tension and a lot of stress, so this moment gives them a time to reflect upon what’s important in their life.” Said Bishop Spencer.
These Cadets were only at the beginning of their grueling field training exercises in the woods of Fort Knox, KY, and when it seems tough, faith might be the thing to get them through to graduation.