During the past two years, the Knights of St Columba have worked very hard, in collaboration with the Catholic Truth Society, to provide a new Prayer Book for Catholics serving in the Armed Forces. The KSC have borne the entire cost of the production of 30,000 Prayer Books, which will be distributed across the three Armed Services.
Ron Lynch, Supreme Knight, formally presented the new Prayer Book to Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of the Armed Forces, during Mass at the Cathedral of St Michael & St George, Aldershot on Sunday, 15 September. This was the formal presentation of the Prayer Book, but copies are already being circulated to Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen wherever they are serving around the world. The Prayer Book has already arrived in Afghanistan and is being distributed to those deployed there.
This new publication is based on the CTS Simple Prayer Book, with additions that will be very useful in the Forces Context. The book has a weatherproof cover and will fit in a uniform or combat jacket pocket. There are around 21,000 Catholics serving in the Armed Forces.
In his homily, Bishop Richard said: “It is very appropriate that we are formally receiving the Prayer Books on Home Mission Sunday. The Bishopric has no geographic boundaries – ‘Home’ for the Bishopric is wherever our Service men and women and their families are” He mentioned specifically Chaplains deployed to Afghanistan and a Royal Navy Chaplain who has been away at sea for nine months.
Bishop Richard said: “The Catholic community within the Armed Forces owes a great debt of gratitude to the Knights of St. Columba for their work. This new Prayer Book is a wonderful resource and will be a source of strength, comfort and hope in prayer for so many as they go about their duties across the world.”