This blog entry should be placed in the “There Are No Atheists in Foxholes” file.
Catholic News Service has posted an inspiring article about Cpl. Andrew Roy Jr., a soldier whose Catholic faith has been revitalized by his military service in Afghanistan and who now teaches others about what Catholics believe when he’s not performing his military duties in the war-torn country.
And Cpl. Roy isn’t ducking contentious issues about the Catholic faith, CNS reports:
On a recent starlit night in eastern Afghanistan, five U.S. soldiers and two civilians spread out under a tent, sitting on leather couches and wooden plank benches to discuss the doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist.
Cpl. Andrew Roy Jr. of Holy Family Parish in Watertown, N.Y., read aloud from a computer outline on a flat-screen television in the chapel at FOB Airborne. He reviewed the history of Gnostics and councils that have long debated the real-presence doctrine of the Roman Catholic faith.
In May, this stocky soldier with clear blue eyes and a forceful voice was not wearing a wooden rosary over his chest as he was that night. Instead, he was in the throes of a spiritual journey that led him from being agnostic to a devout Roman Catholic.
In the desert of Afghanistan, his spiritual fervor offers an oasis of religious discussion and dialogue about faith and the Church.
Roy, who never made it past his first Communion to confirmation until adulthood, struggled with understanding and embracing his faith for most of his life, until this deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division.