Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tom Wolter the Chaplain Candidate

I found this story on

Wolter: Marine to Study for priesthood in Diocese, Military

For the first time, the Diocese of Boise is entering into an agreement with the United States Military Archdiocese to educate a man for priesthood who will eventually serve some time as a military chaplain.
Tom Wolter, a Marine helicopter pilot who recently served in Iraq and assisted with humanitarian aid in Liberia, will enroll at Mt. Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore., in January as an Idaho seminarian.
"What the Military Archdiocese does to encourage priests to help out in the military is to offer a co-sponsorship for seminarians," said Wolter, son of George and Margarite Wolter, Sacred Heart Parish, Boise. "The Military Archdiocese helps out with the costs of seminary. Then upon ordination, the individual serves three years in the home diocese and then owes three years back in the military. At the end of that service, the bishop for vocations for the Military Archdiocese and the diocese of origin dialogue to decided where the greatest need is at the time. They develop a working relationship."
Wolter, who attended St. Mary's School, Boise, and graduated from Bishop Kelly High School, Boise, in 1991, attended a year at Gonzaga University, Spokane, and then went on to the U.S. Navel Academy. He graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He went on to flight school and has served in a Marine squadron in North Carolina the last five years. He was deployed overseas twice. He has now resigned his commission and is with the Marine Corp Reserves.
While in North Carolina, he made up his mind to pursue priesthood. He contacted the Military Archdiocese and learned about the agreement that could be made with either a diocese or an order. Then he contacted Father Jairo Restrepo, Diocese of Boise vocation director, and Bishop Michael Driscoll.
"They supported everything I've done and encouraged me," he said. "Idaho is where I was raised, so I definitely wanted to come back here to work for our diocese. I've been with the military since 1992 and they have done a great deal for me over the years. I enjoythe lifestyle. I like their structure. I enjoy working with those serving in the military. They are very short on chaplains. Personally, I feel that I would like to return to the military for a time because I understand what those Marines go through and the military structure, and that would be very helpful for a chaplain.
It will take six and a half years for Wolter to complete his seminary training. After ordination, when he returns to the military after three years serving in the Diocese of lloise, he will go in as a Navy chaplain serving the Navy and Marines.
Woiters sees chaplains as a "necessity" is the military.
"Chaplains are much more that just a priest," he said. "They are there as 'force multipliers.' Chaplains offer an ability to assist and aid a commanding officer to be sure his Marines are being taken care of. The chaplains' work enables a unit to be closer and more effective. A good chaplain with a good commanding officer is what we call a 'force multiplier.' Chaplains are able to talk to individuals on a different plane than anyone else in the military. The chaplain can help military personnel work through their personal issues, problems and concerns in a different manner. That is why they are so important."

Tom has actually been a seminarian for a few years. He finished Pre-Theology at Mt Angel and he's now studying Theology at Louvein. He is also a Navy Ensign now, since all Marine Chaplains are actually Navy Chaplains attached to the Marine Corps. I knew him from my time as an Idaho Seminarian. He's a great guy and I look forward to his ordination.

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