Bishop Neal Buckon, Archdiocese for the Military Services Auxiliary Bishop, conducted a special Sacrament of Confirmation mass during his annual visit to the installation Dec. 17.
Buckon said his visit to the installation is part of his visit to 100 Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard installations within 18 states. Buckon, who is also an Army veteran, said he realized he was called to serve soon after resigning his commission from the Army. During his time in the Army, Buckon was awarded with the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Joint Service Commendation medal, to name a few.
“I grew up in a family that served in the military so I always wanted to serve in the military myself,” Bukon said.
Buckon served for seven years on active-duty since 1975. After leaving the Army Buckon traveled around the world. During that tour he decided to join the ministry. Buckon still served in the Army Reserves. In 1996 he was accessioned into the Army Chaplain Corps.
“Many people who come into the military have a vocation for service. I wanted to serve our country at home or abroad. I discerned that I not only wanted to serve the country, I wanted to serve God and the country,” Buckon said.
After having served for almost 15 years, Buckon was consecrated as a Bishop. Buckon said the decision wasn’t his to make. He said he received a phone call from then Pope Benedict who personally asked him if he wanted to serve.
“When the Holy Father wants you to do something…I wasn’t going to tell him no,” Buckon said.
During his visit, Buckon had lunch with the Soldiers, held daily mass and a special afternoon mass, and met with the Commanding General and his staff. Bishop Oscar Cantu, from the Diocese of Las Cruces also assisted with the mass.