Archdiocese for the Military Services offers Mass at RTC

Story Number: NNS140514-10Release Date: 5/14/2014 11:23:00 AM
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By LTJG Adam Demeter

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Bishop Robert Coyle, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) visited Recruit Training Command (RTC), May 13.

During his time with the command, Coyle met with Naval Station Great Lakes leadership and celebrated The Holy Mass at the Recruit Memorial Chapel on RTC.

"It was always a great honor to serve great young men and women," said Coyle during his sermon. "Chaplains have a special niche in the military. We're here to serve, to offer guidance when we can and to offer our experiences."

AMS is the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and veteran health administration (VA) medical centers. A Roman Catholic priest cannot serve within the United States Military as a priest without the express permission of the archdiocese. Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Tiongson, deputy chaplain and a Roman Catholic Priest for RTC, says the archbishop's visit and the support from AMS helps with the continuous care for the spiritual and emotional needs of Sailors.

"In my 13 years in the Navy, I have seen how important it is for service members to practice their faith," said Tiongson. "Their faith gives them the strength to persevere and not to give up during the trying moments of their lives."

During Catholic services at RTC, recruits volunteer to sing in the choir or serve at the altars. Recruits can also offer prayers, read scripture and take Holy Communion. According to Seaman Recruit Katrina Biggs, taking an active role in Mass helps her feel closer to her family while she is away from home.

"Music has always been a big part of my family; my mother used to play music every morning," said Biggs, from Prescott, Ariz. "Having a place to worship outside of the barracks also makes me feel closer to my shipmates and gives me the chance to give back by way of faith."

As of 2008, 285 Roman Catholic priests were endorsed by the AMS. These chaplains serve on loan from their diocese of incardination or religious order and are released for a term of military service. Coyle served as an active-duty Navy chaplain from 1999 to 2009 and continues to minister Sailors around the world.

"I'm so impressed by the men and women who serve our country, who live out their faith, who love God, who love their neighbor and want to make a difference," said Coyle. "What an honor it is to pray with all of the recruits tonight, to look out upon them, to see their enthusiasm, their wonderful love for God and their willingness to make a great sacrifice and make a difference."

The chaplain corps at RTC consists of eight Navy chaplains and five Religious Program Specialists. Along with Catholicism, RTC offers a myriad of other religious services led by chaplains assigned to the command to include Reform Judaism, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Christian Reform, Evangelical Lutheran and Latter-day Saints. For all other religions and beliefs, lay leaders and clergy from the local community use space in the chapel to give everybody an opportunity to practice their faith.

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks, and all enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms familiarization, firefighting and shipboard damage control, lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. Since the closure of RTCs at Orlando and San Diego in 1994, RTC Great Lakes is, today, the Navy's only basic training location, and is known as "The Quarterdeck of the Navy." Today, more than 43,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit

Bishop Robert Coyle, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services gives Holy Communion to recruits at  Recruit Training Command.
140513-N-IY426-037 GREAT LAKES, Ill., (May 13, 2014) Bishop Robert Coyle, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Tiongson, deputy chaplain and Roman Catholic priest for Recruit Training Command, give Holy Communion to recruits at Recruit Training Command. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j. g. Adam Demeter/Released)
May 14, 2014
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