Father Germán to begin preparation to become U.S. military chaplain
The following story appeared in the June 25 Idaho Catholic Register.
In April, Father Germán Osorio takes the oath from Air Guard Wing Chaplain Ian Howarth to become part of the U.S. Air Force. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
by Vero Gutierrez
MOUNTAIN HOME – It is true that Catholic priests routinely change residences to attend to the spiritual needs of families. However, the situation is just the opposite for Father Germán Osorio, pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Mountain Home, who will soon be ministering to families always on the move when he becomes a military chaplain to men and women and their families in the National Guard at Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Father Germán said his becoming a chaplain “is a way of giving back to this country that welcomed me as a citizen.” Father Germán who has been a priest for 11 years was born in Pácora, Colombia. He will continue to serve as pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel while he is serving as a chaplain at the Air Force base, which is about 15 miles southwest of Mountain Home.
Father Germán, the youngest of three children in a Catholic family, felt the call to the priesthood when he was very young, attributing his call to the witness provided by his parish priest, Father Fabio Isaza. When he asked his parents for permission to enter a minor seminary, his mother took him to Father Isaza who encouraged him to become an altar server. Later he served his parish as a catechist and then joined the choir.
“This time of preparation was very important to me, because it helped me discern my vocation and make the final decision to become a priest,” Father Germán said.
After high school, he entered the seminary in 1997, studying philosophy for three years.
Later, while studying theology, he was invited by the vocations director for the Diocese of Boise to consider continuing his studies in this Diocese.
In 2003, he arrived in the United States. In addition to his seminary studies, he took English courses at Boise State University. However, after a year here, circumstances warranted a return to Colombia before he returned to the United States to stay permanently.
After being ordained a deacon, he was assigned to St. Edward Parish in Twin Falls with Father Michael St. Marie. “My service as a deacon in St. Edward’s was a very important stage in my formation,” he said.
Bishop Michael Discroll ordained him a priest on June 10, 2010, and his first assignment was parochial vicar at St. Paul’s Parish in Nampa with Father Gerald Funke.
In 2013, he left St. Paul’s to serve as vicar at Good Shepherd Parish in Soda Springs with Father John Worster. Later, Bishop Peter Christensen appointed him as pastor there. In 2017, he was assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel at Mountain Home. In 2018, he became a citizen of the United States.
The idea of becoming a military chaplain began to take shape after he was invited by Technical Sergeant Anthony Bean to a Clergy Appreciation Day in June of 2019, attended by ministers of many faiths in the Mountain Home area.
On that day, Father Mario Rosario, at that time the Catholic chaplain at Mountain Home Air Force Base, personally invited Father Germán to consider chaplaincy ministry. Bishop Peter Christensen consented, but the COVID pandemic forced him to delay his preparation.
On April 9, 2021, Father Germán took the oath to become part of the U.S. Air Force after an extensive back-ground check by the U.S. government.
The arrival of Father Onyema Okorie to serve at the chapel at Mountain Home Air Force Base, allowed Father Germán to begin his training earlier than anticipated.
His first stage of training will be Officer Training School for eight weeks at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., likely in October. In the meantime, Father Germán has been participating in training at Gowen Field during his Drill Weekends one weekend a month.
Father Germân Osorio has been pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel since 2017. He will continue at the parish while also serving as a chaplain at Mountain Home Air Force Base. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
“To become a military chaplain requires physical training and studying the military environment,” Father Germán said. “I understand and respect the military environment. It is a demanding ministry, as it is for someone who serves as a chaplain at a hospital. However, here you work with soldiers of different religions who may seek counseling. We have to have training so that we can serve them in the best way.”
Father Germán says he is excited to be part of the Air Force team. “My main expectation as a priest is to be able to serve and as a human, to be able to learn more.”
“The military chaplains who have experience say that this is a ‘vocation within the vocation,’ ” Father Father Germán said. “My goal as a military chaplain is to extend my priesthood. If there is a place where spiritual accompaniment is needed, I want to be there,” he said. “It is a demanding environment of many orders,” he said, adding that chaplains need to help service members “unload” with spiritual counseling and, for Catholics, providing the sacraments.
While Father Germán will continue to serve in the Diocese of Boise, he will also become a priest of the Archdiocese for the United States Military Services, founded in 1985 by Pope John Paul II.
Father Germán said being immersed in the military environment is extremely rewarding, not only at the Air Force base but in his ministry to the many retired military personnel who live in Mountain Home.
Working with adults is one of the activities he enjoys most in his ministry, he said, noting that “God always surrounds you with people with more gifts and abilities for a more suitable service in the Church.”
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