Light One Candle

No Act of Service Was Beneath Him

“Every day was the day you were going to die. It was pretty much a place of hell and despair with no hope.” That’s how the former Allied soldiers, interviewed by Wichita Eagle reporters Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying for their Christopher Award-winning book “The Miracle of Father Kapaun,” described their lives in prisoner of war camps run by the North Koreans and Chinese during the Korean War.

Faith, Chivalry and Timely Messages

“Refreshingly retro” is how I would describe the new TV series, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” which airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel. As the brainchild of former “Touched by an Angel” writer and executive producer Martha Williamson, the show includes that special Williamson touch, which makes it entertaining, funny, heartwarming, and inspirational.

Faith, Freedom, Nonviolence & Truth

In my previous column, I started sharing the story of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a priest in Poland who began a nonviolent revolution against his country’s oppressive communist government during the 1980s. His story is told in the Christopher Award-winning documentary “Jerzy Popieluszko: Messenger of the Truth.”

The Legacy of Polish Martyr Father Jerzy Popielusko

No praying out loud, no Mass, no rosaries, no group prayers. Those were the Polish Army’s rules under the communist regime in the 1970s when a young Catholic seminarian named Jerzy Popieluszko was forced to complete his military service. Though the government tried to break the spirits of future priests so they would give up their vocations and even their faith, the atheist indoctrination didn’t work on Father Jerzy.

A Mother's Refuge, A Son's Legacy

There will be another Mother’s Day this year for Jackie Giblin Bardem. She suffered an unspeakable loss 18 months ago when her 7-year-old son, Daniel, was one of 20 student-victims of a shooter in Newtown, Conn. With special thanks to her childhood parish in the Bronx, in New York City, Daniel’s memory will go on and on, for Mother’s Days down through the years. Her Bronx friends thought that much of her, one of nine little Giblin children who grew up there. And they never forgot.

The Army's First Black Paratrooper

 

Name any veteran of World War II and you’ve got someone who made a difference, as The Christophers always advise. Just by being part of the Armed Forces in that brutal conflict, those brave men and women made it possible for the rest of us to enjoy all the freedoms we have today. And as we pay special tribute to their sacrifices this month, I invite you to remember one man who made an enormous difference—although I doubt that he knew it at the time.

Football Hero Becomes Role Model for Deaf Children

Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman didn’t quite win the Most Valuable Player award this year in the Hawks’ Super Bowl romp over the Denver Broncos, but don’t tell that to hundreds of hearing-impaired youngsters who watched the game as his guests. As far as they were concerned, he was the MVP for all time and a lock for the Hall of Fame. And who’s to say they’re wrong?

He Risked His Life to Save My Life

A lifetime ago, a New York City firefighter saved a baby boy. He did so in spectacular fashion, rescuing the infant from a burning building in Brooklyn. The city heaped praise on the young fireman, and the event made the front page of the New York Daily News. As time went by, though, the man and the boy lost touch with each other, and over the years the firefighter wondered aloud what had happened to the infant he saved so long ago. The mystery wasn’t solved until last January, when the fireman died—and at last his family had the answers it had sought for so long.

Out of a Dark Place Through God's Grace

Everyone knows that Hurricane Sandy is still having catastrophic effects on the lives of many in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area—but Hurricane Katrina? Yep, Hurricane Katrina. The storm that pulverized the Gulf area back in 2005 was nothing less than a disaster for many people, including Barry Lyons, a one-time New York Met. With the help of organized baseball he’s managing to recover from all the sadness it caused, but it brought a lot of heartache along the way.

Life Isn't Just About the Journey

In my last column, I introduced you to writers Amy Andrews, a convert to the Catholic faith, and Jessica Mesman Griffith, who re-embraced Catholicism as an adult after a childhood in which her parents became evangelical. To help work out their beliefs—and their struggles with their beliefs—they started handwriting letters to each other as a lenten discipline several years ago. Those letters have now been collected into the book “Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters.”

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