The National Catholic Review
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On an August evening in Afghanistan, the Rev. Mirek Jordanek, a Czech army chaplain, celebrated Mass in his limited English. A Protestant chaplain preached the homily at the weekend Mass. “One day, we will see him face to face,” said the Rev. Brent Sanders, the Protestant chaplain. “Let us be ready.” It is a fitting message for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. At least 14 soldiers have been killed in action since January, four of them in the last two weeks of July. Where once only 10 of the faithful attended Catholic Mass, their numbers have grown to at least 30 regular attendees. Although one out of five U.S. soldiers is Catholic, there are just 100 Catholic chaplains for the entire U.S. Army. “We are very short,” said the Rev. Bradley West, a Baptist assigned to the 10th Mountain Division. “Especially when we deploy, many soldiers will not see a priest the whole time, especially the guys out at command outposts,” he said.