Saints Alive! | St Edmund Campion

In 1580, the Jesuit mission to England began. His mission was to strengthen Catholics wavering under government pressure and win converts among the Protestants. He was eventually hunted down and was sentenced to death as a traitor. During his trial he answered: “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.” After spending his last days in prayer he was led with two companions to Tyburn and hanged, drawn and quartered on December 1, 1581, aged 41. For more about this saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Heroic Priesthood | Fr. Jacques Hamel: Martyr

Six years ago today, Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was assassinated at the foot of the altar as he was celebrating Mass with his parishioners. On the morning of July 26, 2016, two 19-year old Islamic State radicals stormed Father Hamel's church. Just before having his throat cut, witnesses recount Father Hamel told one of his assailants, "Be gone, Satan!" Minutes later the 85-year old Catholic priest whose throat was slit before the altar died at the scene. For more about this Catholic priest, martyr for the Faith, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Articles of Faith | Call No Man Father: A Common Misunderstanding of the Priesthood

On this Father's Day we explore the Catholic understanding of the Priesthood, where priests are called father. Catholics defend that this title is scriptural and consistent with a biblical understanding of Christianity.  That view, however, is a source of confusion for some men and women of goodwill, especially for many of our Evangelical Protestant brothers and sisters.  If pressed about the point even well-intentioned Catholics, lacking a clear understanding of the biblical evidence, have a hard time explaining why we call our parish priest by such a name.  In fact, Jesus’ words are quite clear, as found in Matthew’s Gospel account, when he says, "Call no one on earth your father ..." (Mt 23:9). So why is it that the Catholic Church has continued the practice, highlighting by name and title, that priests are appropriately called father?  The reason may surprise; and a deeper exploration of Holy Scripture reveals the answer to make one thing clear:  It’s scriptural and is deeply rooted in biblical religion. For more about this post and the Catholic understanding of the priesthood as "fathers" please click on the image. Happy Father's Day. Peace be with you!

Heroic Priesthood | Remembering D-Day (World War II)

[More than three quarters of a Century] after the Allied invasion of Normandy, we remember and honor those who served during the largest seaborne invasion in history. On that one day, over 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded or declared missing in action. In the course of the Normandy campaign, which lasted through August 21, 1944, Allied forces landed more than two million men in northern France and suffered more than 226,000 casualties. Chaplains and Catholic priests played an important role in providing essential spiritual and psychological guidance during the days and weeks that followed. Unarmed, they courageously put themselves on the front lines to say Mass, offer pastoral care for active and wounded soldiers, and provide last rites for the dying and prayers for those killed. (Excerpt from "D-Day, 74 years later: Remembering the heroic chaplains and priests of Normandy," by Katherine Ruddy, Aleteia). For images and more about these heroic military chaplains and priests, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Heroic Priesthood | Fr. Emil Kapaun: Medal of Honor (Korean War)

Born in the small Czech farming community of Pilsen, Kansas on April 20, 1916, Emil Kapaun became a Catholic priest and U.S. Army Chaplain. During the Battle of Unsan in November of 1950, Kapaun worked tirelessly to comfort the suffering and retrieve the wounded from the battlefield. One of the soldiers he retrieved was a wounded Chinese soldier, who helped him negotiate a surrender after he was surrounded by enemy troops. Kapaun was taken as a prisoner of war. War records document Kapaun saving a soldier's life who had been shot and then wounded by a grenade, which broke his ankle and shredded his legs with shrapnel. Korean soldiers would kill any U.S. prisoners who could not walk to the camp, so Kapaun carried the soldier 30 miles on a prisoners’ march. Kapaun was then taken to prison camp number five in Pyoktong, a bombed-out village used as a detainment center. The soldiers at the camp were severely mistreated, facing malnourishment, dysentery, and a lack of warm clothing to counter an extremely cold winter. Kapaun would do all he could for the soldiers, washing their soiled clothes, retrieving fresh water, and attending to their wounds. When he developed pneumonia and a blood clot in his leg, the chaplain was denied medical treatment. He died in 1951. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. On this Memorial Day we remember Father Emil Kapaun and the U.S. Armed Forces men and women who died in service to their country. Peace be with you!