Fr. Rob's Army Values/Spirit. Book
Father Robert Repenning's Army Core Values/Spirituality Book Project
I am a Catholic priest, but for the past 8 months, I have had no parish assignment. I am also a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom III, who has been put on “sick leave” by the Archbishop of New York because he “has concerns about my PTSD.”
The “hold up” to reassigning me back to a parish is because I chose not to submit myself to a psychiatric facility, nor to abandon eleven years of excellent and ongoing psychological treatment at the V.A., both of which are being demanded of me. So, in essence, I have been left to fend for myself in limbo, after fifteen years of faithful service as a priest.
I am receiving my base salary, however, it is not enough to cover my expenses, which include, helping my disabled Mom out for the past ten years with taxes and repairs of our family home of 45 years. Almost two-thirds of my income is being withheld by the Archdiocese, which normally cover room and board expenses and is part of my priestly benefits, thus my need for assistance.
I have been offered a place to stay by the Archbishop, but it is sixty miles, one way, from all of my doctors and is a home for sick and elderly priests. I am neither sick nor elderly, and the distance would be stressful and costly to drive several time a week. All of my eleven doctors at the V.A. are in agreement that my PTSD is in no way a detriment or impediment to my work as a parish priest. In fact, they say I am fit for work as a priest and that my not being able to work and perform my priestly duties is actually harmful to my health! In addition, all the tests and evaluations my doctors have performed on me support their diagnoses.
I have been unable to reason with the Archbishop, even after providing him with all my medical records. My doctors have offered to have telephone conferences with him. No calls have come forth. The Archbishop is unwilling to accept scientific evidence for reasons that he will not even discuss with me. He remains unmoved. According to the Archdiocesan spokesman, we are at a “stalemate.”
It has been several weeks since my parishioners were notified in a letter from the Archbishop, that my “sick leave” has been renewed. I have yet to be informed directly of this decision! Also, the Archbishop has yet to respond to an e-mail that I have sent him four time over the course of two weeks, in which, I explained my financial situation and yet, after four e-mails, he still hasn’t responded.
So I don’t fall behind in my financial responsibilities, which include helping my Mom pay property and school taxes, I have decided that the best way to do so is to use my gifts and talents and do something worthwhile during this time of waiting for the Archbishop to make a decision about me. I am going to write a book!
Although, I am a priest, I also am a writer. Previously, I have self-published a book, written during my deployment, By My Side: The Tikrit Diaries , which also has a companion book of pictures , available for order, as well as, several books of poetry available at lulu.com and at various booksellers. I just completed a poetic sequence that tells the story of my deployment in Iraq in another book called The Ghostland Ritual .
Now I am beginning a new book. During this time, in the interest of continuing my work as a spiritual guide, I have committed to writing a book on the Army Core Values and the way in which these values can be utilized in strengthening one’s spiritual life.
Since my current financial state has drastically changed and to make ends meet while awaiting a new assignment, I am asking for assistance in the form of sponsorship.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution, will be allowing me to use my priestly gifts in a positive, productive way. I have already begun work on this book and anticipate finishing this project by the beginning of July 2017. To supplement my income, so that I can meet my expenses during these months, I am hoping to raise $7,500.
As a sign of gratitude, I will honor those who sponsor the project. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the book for their contribution to this cause. Sponsorship in someone’s memory or as a remembrance can also be made.
Anyone making a donation of $100 or more will also receive an autographed copy upon publication as a sign of my gratitude.
Updates will be provided along the way.
Thank you for your most appreciated assistance and consideration!
About the Book:
The United States Army is renown for its professional military tradition that pre-dates the Nation it serves. It is fair to say that its actions have had a profound effect, not only on the history of Western Civilization, but on the shape of human society in the world, as we know it. A deeper look at the U.S. Army reveals a rich history, steeped in age-old values which have shaped the Corps as a whole and its actions. When the values of the Army have been adhered to, the Army has been a bright light in some of humanity's darkest moments. It is also true, that when the values of the U.S. Army have been forgotten, great tragedies have resulted.
The Army Core Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Self-less Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage reflect the highest ideals of our National identity. These values are meant to be guiding principles in the life of a Soldier, and in the fulfillment of the Soldier’s service.
As an Army Chaplain, the Army Core Values had a two-fold purpose. These values have an instructive value for all soldiers, but personally, they were tools in my work. In times of decision, I found that these values were significant signposts as to how to proceed properly.
As a Catholic priest, I appreciate the Army Core Values as having additional potential, presented to a larger audience. These values can offer tremendous assistance in developing and/or strengthening one’s spiritual life. Certainly, the life of a civilian is not exactly the same as a Soldier. However, the similarities far outweigh the differences. The spiritual life often seems, by its very essence, difficult to gauge in concrete terms. Yet, with slight adjustment, anyone can apply these values in one’s daily life and begin to see in more concrete terms spiritual growth and maturity.
The men and women who serve in the United States Army are taught apply certain values to their military service. Applying these same values to one's own life could help in bringing that life focus, purpose and growth. These values can also be a great benefit towards living one's spiritual life in an authentic and fulfilling manner.
LOYALTY, DUTY, RESPECT, SELFLESS SERVICE, HONOR, INTEGRITY, PERSONAL COURAGE
Father Robert B. Repenning invites you to take a spiritual pilgrimage in 2018 as we explore the spiritual wealth contained in the Army Core Values.
I hope that you are all doing well. The past few weeks have been a little hard for those of us with friends in Texas and Florida. Please join me in offering our prayers, best wishes and our hopes for the safety, well being and needs of all those who have been affected by the hurricanes.
As a priest, I find myself moved so often when I witness people confronted by serious challenges. Think about when you feel most challenged. How does it make you feel? Do you feel discouraged? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed?
This summer, I began writing a book that focuses on these issues as well as developing a more concrete approach to spirituality. A positive mental outlook is important to meet challenges in our lives. With so many perspectives in the world, I decided to look at a system of values and thoughts that supports one’s mental outlook and can assist in developing a stronger spiritual life.
If you want to build muscle mass, what do you do? Would you lift a piece of paper and expect to get stronger? No way! Someone who is serious about building muscle mass will get a good set of weights. The muscles develop through training. Resistance exercises allow the muscles to be challenged and strengthened, take shape and develop. This type of training requires discipline and repetition.
In a similar way, I have borrowed a set of values, the Army Core Values, from my Military training. I am writing a spirituality book incorporating these proven values and attitudes, so that we can meet challenges with focus, with grace under pressure and with confidence. Will we still feel overwhelmed with life’ at times? Yes, but with the tools of a warrior, we can learn to deal with those challenges and drive on.
Have you ever driven somewhere and once you’ve arrived, thought that you didn’t even remember the drive? We seem to take pride in being able to do things without having to think too much. The danger is that our actions can lack intentionality. In the Military, when paying attention to details can have life and death results, intentionality is vital.
The Army Core Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Self-less Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage can assist in instilling proper motivation in our actions. We will feel overwhelmed if we don’t act with purpose. These values focus one’s attention in acting with purpose and ensuring that one remains purpose-driven, not reactive to every crisis that arises.
For me, the very act of writing this book is an exercise in remaining focused, during a time of crisis. Facing some serious challenges, specifically of not being in active Parish Ministry at this time, I have decided to focus some attention towards doing something to
help others face their life challenges. Unfortunately, I am facing some financial concerns. I need some help to meet my expenses while I work on this project and await a new parish assignment. For those who have already donated to the cause, I thank you wholeheartedly! If you would still like to support this project or join my effort, I would be most appreciative. Those who contribute to this GoFund Me project will receive an acknowledgement in the book.
Every little bit helps! We are almost at goal!!!
Contributions have been helping me with expenses along the way. My stated goal reflects my planned budget up to November 1st.
Hopefully by then I will have a new assignment!
Blessings and peace!
Many Catholics don't realize that a priest must meet many expenses on his own, just like the people in the pews. Things like car payments, car insurance, cell phone, and taxes, etc. must be paid for by the priest. Priests depend on their Mass stipends and salary to meet those obligations. My Mass stipends were "halted" on 6/30/16 and now, my base salary has been cut in half. I depended on that base pay to meet the basic essentials of living. In my particular situation, I have also helped my Mom meet her expenses for the last ten years.
I WAS ABLE TO FINALLY SPEAK WITH THE DIRECTOR OF PRIEST PERSONNEL VIA TELEPHONE AND HE INFORMED ME THAT THE CARDINAL HAS CUT THE PAY OF some other priests who are also in LIMBO (not assigned to a parish)! A list was issued and letters sent to those whose base salary was cut. My name was not on the list, but instructions were issued that mine was to be cut also!
The bureaucratic and un-Godly clergy who surround and control Cardinal Dolan have forgotten the honesty of real-life concerns of paying bills, utilities, car insurance, stretching a dollar at the grocery store, gas for the car and helping family.
I have to add that an ordinary citizen can approach a U.S. Congressperson or a U.S. Senator anywhere in public and express concerns. But, NO ONE can approach the Archbishop of New York . He is inaccessible. You can't get an appointment with him, you can't speak to him on the phone and HE DOES NOT GET ALL MAIL THAT IS ADDRESSED TO HIM. And, there is no way of being assured that any mail coming from him is, in fact, from him. Letters sent to Cardinal Dolan are FIRST FILTERED through the Moderator of the Curia, Monsignor Gregory Mustaciuolo. Many of you have already been stumped, as I have been, in your efforts to contact Cardinal Dolan in your attempts to assist me.
While I am working hard on getting back to "active duty Priesthood in a parish," I am also writing this beautiful book on Army Values. Please consider contributing to this great cause. God bless you and thank you for your help.
If you can share this link with your friends I'd be most appreciative: https://www.gofundme.com/robertbrepenning?r=66108
Again, I thank you in advance and be assured that each and every one of you are in my daily prayers.
Fr. Robert Repenning
Best of Luck Fr. Robert....if it was not for you I would have not attended the Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden in 2015. Peace always...