Veterans and Military Service Members Ministry

Curt Nelson Photo - Boots At Wall

The Veterans and Military Ministry’s objective is to facilitate material and spiritual support both for veterans and active duty military and their families in our parish and the local community. With the support of a small grant from Catholic Charities DC, the ministry intends to raise awareness of the gifts and talents of veterans in our parish, to provide and promote resources for veterans, especially those who are transitioning from active duty service, and to support Catholic chaplains on deployment. 


April 2018: The Veterans-Military Ministry co-hosted an evening of storytelling by and for veterans, friends, family and members of the community on Saturday evening, April 14. Our storytellers were US Army veteran Colonel Rebecca Goodum and Captain Luis Avila (US Army active duty) and Claudia Avila, his wife. They shared their stories of military service, deployment, the path to healing and the role of faith in their personal journeys. Special thanks to the Archdiocese of Washington for their support of this evening and the Knights of Columbus Council 224 for their donation of the venue.

The Veterans-Military Ministry team held a half-day retreat on Saturday, April 28 at the St. John Paul II Shrine. Reflection on recent team activities, Mass, a talk by Deacon Dr. John Allen on "Moral Injury" and planning for the remainder of 2018 were highlights of the day.

March 2018: The Veterans-Military Ministry hosted a Spring workshop "Writing from the Heart and Soul: A Workshop for Veterans and Active Duty Military." The workshop, led by Ministry Team member Susan Mitchell, used the Psalms as a template for veterans to structure for their thoughts and feelings on their military service and transition. Participants began by listening to a few of the most vivid psalms, and then wrote their own personal psalm, culminating in a group psalm.

November 2017: Jocelyn Rowe, Ministry Chair, took part in a webinar on veterans' ministries that was organized and hosted by the Archdiocese for Military Services. To learn more about our parish's ministry and other ministry offerings and the spiritual needs of veterans, please listen and watch below:

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19: The Veterans and Military Ministry honored the men and women of our parish and community who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces with a special Mass followed by a coffee and donuts reception immediately following mass in the lower level of the Parish Center. Many thanks to our fellow parishioners and guests who attended the Mass and joined us for the wonderful time of fellowship immediately following.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21: Wellness for the Body, Soul and Spirit

Veterans, Active Duty Military Service Members, and Military and Veteran Spouses, attended a workshop entitled "Wellness for the Body, Soul, and Spirit" that addressed post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Our presenters, Deanna Won and Jim McNulty, presented simple ways to promote one's personal wellness by integrating practical techniques and positive choices into one's life for a healthier and happier life.

Fall 2017 Workshop
: Financial Literacy and Planning: Veterans in transition face unique financial challenges. Our presenter and Blessed Sacrament parishioner, Joe Finnegan led an interactive discussion around Personal Finance and the factors to consider during one's transition from military service. Participants learned about the 5 financial core competencies (Income, Budgeting, Saving, Borrowing, Protecting) and discuss wealth building and tax minimization strategies. Don't be one of the thousands of veterans that puts themselves at financial risk due to a lack of information or support.

Spring 2017 Activities: Washington Nationals Baseball Game: Thanks to the generosity of the Washington Nationals Community Grants Program, the Ministry Team and its guests enjoyed a baseball game on Saturday, April 29.

The Ministry Team sponsored two Military to Civilian Transition Workshops:

May 13: Civilian Transition Workshop: Our guest speaker was Wayne Gatewood, USMC veteran, Code of Support board member, and former owner of Quality Support, a successful government services contracting firm that he operated for more than 25 years.

June 24: Civilian Transition Workshop: Entrepreneurship/Business Start-Up Basics: Our guest speaker was Bill Kelly, USMC veteran and Blessed Sacrament parishioner. Bill spoke about his own experience as a small business owner and the important factors that one should consider when deciding to launch your own business.

More than 30 veterans and active duty military attended the two workshops which also included time for small group discussions led by fellow veterans, food and fellowship. The Ministry Team would like to thank the Knights of Columbus’ Washington Council 224 for their generous donation of their beautiful meeting space for these workshops.

2016 Activities: The Ministry Team held a Moral Injury and Forgiveness workshop in September 2016. Almost 30 clergy and clinicians learned more about this topic, including the spiritual and moral questions raised by military personnel and veterans after deployment, and resources to promote healing.

Around the Veterans Day holiday, the Ministry sponsored many events including a November 3rd Holy Hour to pray for veterans, active duty military and the work of the ministry, a November 13th Mass honoring veterans followed by a coffee and doughnuts social hour when the ministry team shared information and collected donations for the local VA hospital and a Catholic chaplain on deployment overseas.

During the Christmas holidays, the ministry partnered with the Youth Ministry who made rosary bracelets and Christmas cards and continued to collect and distribute the generous donations from the Blessed Sacrament community.



Ministry team includes Jocelyn Rowe, Ministry Lead, and members Aaron Ayers, Luke Holian, Steve Malphrus, Susan Mitchell, Briana Murphy, and Curt Nelson with the support of Father Bill and Father Alec.

The ministry will provide bulletin and newsletter updates for future plans. To get involved in the work of the Ministry, please contact Jocelyn Rowe at ; or at 202-641-4556.

Our monthly meetings are held in the Parish Center lower level, immediately after the 10:30am Mass. Please watch the bulletin for future meeting updates.