Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, seen here celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, says the reality of war is just one of the challenges the Catholic Church is called to help members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families cope with. CNS photo/Carol Glatz
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, seen here celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, says the reality of war is just one of the challenges the Catholic Church is called to help members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families cope with. CNS photo/Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY – The brutal reality of war is just one of the challenges the Catholic Church is called to help members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families cope with, said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

"For 19 years, the United States has been at war, and this is a reality that anyone who has volunteered for the military knows and that touches him or her directly," the archbishop told Catholic News Service.

"The havoc that this has wreaked on families is a very great concern, and I hope that these days of the 'ad limina' visit will be an opportunity for dicasteries to be aware of the situation, and I hope to learn some things that I might be able to take back," said Archbishop Broglio, who was in Rome Dec. 1-7 for their "ad limina apostolorum" visit to report on the status of their dioceses.

According to its website, the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services currently serves more than 220 installations in 29 countries. Along with providing the full range of the Catholic Church's pastoral ministries and spiritual services to the men and women – and their families – who serve in the nation's five military branches, the archdiocese ministers to patients at Veterans Affairs medical centers and foreign service personnel working outside the United States.

However, among the challenges facing the archdiocese, Archbishop Broglio told CNS, is the shortage of priests, which is "an issue that strikes us very, very deeply."

Archbishop Broglio said he is hopeful that his meeting with the Pope as well as the various Vatican offices will help better ministry to the families of the Military Archdiocese.