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News > Military Bishop visits BLAZE Catholic community
Military Bishop visits BLAZE Catholic community
Altar servers Lizzy Dobronsky and Brian Callaway lead the Most Reverend Neal Buckon, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services down the isle after Catholic mass Sunday afternoon at the Base Chapel. Over 100 members of the base Catholic community attended mass and a meal afterward during the bishop’s Super Bowl Sunday parish visit. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Sonic Johnson)
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Military Bishop visits BLAZE Catholic community

Posted 2/10/2012   Updated 2/10/2012 Email story   Print story


by Sonic Johnson
Chief, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

2/10/2012 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Auxiliary Bishop for the Western Vicariate paid his first visit to the Columbus Air Force Base Catholic community Feb. 3 to 6. The Most Reverend Bishop Neal Buckon spent the weekend meeting with the chapel staff and parishioners and the contract Catholic Priest, Father Vince Burns.

"We are lucky to have contract priests and deacons in our military parishes now," reflected Bishop Buckon. "There are 29 bases that do not have an active duty priest assigned."

Bishop Buckon met with wing chapel staff Saturday to discuss local religious programs and some of the recent successes and challenges. Saturday evening 17 members of the parish council had dinner with the Bishop at a local restaurant to meet the new church leader.

His visit culminated with Sunday evening Mass for the base Prince of Peace parish members followed by a social where all members met with and greeted the Bishop.

The Cleveland, Ohio native was recognized in May 1975 as a Distinguished Military Graduate and appointed as a Regular Army Officer and served in both the Infantry and Transportation Branches of the United States Army. After serving on active duty for seven years, he resigned his commission, traveled the world, visiting over one hundred countries, and entered into the ministry. While in the Seminary, he served in the United States Army Reserve as a Chaplain Candidate and was subsequently accessioned into the United States Army Chaplain Corps in 1996. Buckon retired from the Army on December 31, 2010.

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, selected him to become the Titular Bishop of Vissalsa and serve as an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S. He was ordained a bishop on Feb. 22, 2011.

Bishop Buckon is currently serving as Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio's Vicar for the Western Region, overseeing Catholic Pastoral Care at 95 Military Installations in 18 States.

The Bishop plans to visit every military installation in his vicariate this year and so far is moved by the love for Jesus and their church displayed by the chapel communities. "It is impressive to see strong faith in the chapel communities as individuals, families and a military community."

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