Assembly 0155 actively supports all branches of the United States Military Services through a variety of activites. We are a force multiplier in the sense that our members go back to their third degree councils and encourage their councils to participate in activities that support the American military; thus a group of about three hundred Knights can rally a force of about one thousand Knights. Among those activities are:
Veterans Administration Volunteer Services
The assembly provides financial support as well as hours of volunteer service at the local V.A. hospital in Riviera Beach.
Support our Troops
Members of our Assembly assist in collecting items for the local Support Our Troops affiliate in North Palm Beach and have been very successful in encouraging Council 4999 to assist in collections, but especially in packing personal "Care Packages" to send our troops at Christmas. We were influential in getting the council to donate use of their hall and in providing lunches for the volunteers. In recent years "Care Packages" have gone to our troops in Iraq, Afganistan, Africa, and other locations. One Christmas we assisted in shipping over 1,200 individual packages. The assembly also contributes significantly to the shipping costs.
Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program
The Knights of Columbus has established a new scholarship program to help fund the education of seminarians preparing to become Catholic chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The program will distribute $1 million in scholarship money to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, over a period of five years. These funds, in turn, will help produce a new generation of much-needed Catholic chaplains to minister to U.S. military personnel and their families. Fundraising for the project will be led by the Fourth Degree, the patriotic degree of the Knights and Assembly 0155 does its part.
The U.S. military archdiocese, which supplies Catholic chaplains, estimates that it needs 800 priests to fully serve all of the Catholic men and women in uniform today, but they are only able to supply 280 — barely a third of the number needed. So Catholics in uniform sometimes go weeks, or even months without being able to attend Mass or receive spiritual guidance from a priest.
The military chaplain scholarship program aims to provide a solution to this problem. According to Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the scholarship money will be dedicated to the archdiocese's existing "Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program," which was initiated to recruit priestly vocations for the military for the benefit of the armed forces as well as participating dioceses and religious orders throughout the country. Through this program, the military archdiocese contracts with each participating diocese to fund 50 percent of the cost of a seminarian's five-year education — typically $12,500 per year. In return, the seminarian agrees that, following ordination and three years of service at a parish, he will commit to serve as a military chaplain under the auspices of the military archdiocese for a minimum of three to five years. Typically, most seminarians in the program have prior military service.