TIJUANA, Mexico – The men trudged down the dusty road of an impoverished Tijuana neighborhood. The Sunday morning air was already arid and hot, but the small group was on a mission: They were heading to a tiny neighborhood community center, bearing lemonade, food and prayers for the local families.
ST.-DENIS, France – Miriam clearly remembers the day she was cut, bundled by two village women into a bathroom at the age of 7, where a third performed the procedure. “It was very, very painful,” the young Malian woman says softly, as her two tiny children pinch her cheeks, crying for attention.
CHABROUH, Lebanon – In a pristine mountain setting in Lebanon, a female volunteer gently takes hold of the hands of Mohammed, a disabled adult who has trouble communicating. She gazes into his eyes – still shaded in heart-shaped sunglasses from the dress-up activity a few hours earlier – as she engages him in a dance to the rhythm of the music playing in the background.
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 16:13). This is the Gospel that St. Maximilian Kolbe preached with his life and death. On the 75th anniversary of his death (Aug. 14), the Church celebrated his heroic sacrifice in 1941 when he volunteered his life in place of a fellow Auschwitz inmate.
On the longest day of the year, I stood on a mountain trail in the middle of the French Alps a mile above sea level. I had every reason to count my blessings.
SAN DIEGO – It may sound like an oxymoron, but Father Michael A. Mikstay says some of the most peaceful moments of his military chaplaincy have been spent in a war zone.