Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2014

Martyrdom--Part of our Christian Call

I can remember well being a student at St. William's School in the Dorchester section of Boston.  Our religious studies were based on the Baltimore Catechism but were fleshed out with brief lessons in Church history and stories of the saints.  I was always intrigued by the stories of martyrs who gave their life for the faith and was filled and filled with admiration for them.  I often wondered if I would have the courage to make such a sacrifice if placed in a situation where I had to profess my faith or die.

   As time went on I also thought of martyrdom as a remote possibility, especially for those of us living in the USA.  Yes, the sisters and later the friars who taught me in high school mentioned people in Communist countries who were martyred but it all seemed long ago, or far away, or both.

   I have had occasional encounters with the reality of martyrdom that were more close at hand.  I remember swimming at one of my province's vacation houses a number of years ago…

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness--For Peace!

When I was serving in Rome during the Jubilee year of 2000 I noticed that people would see us Franciscans on the street and greet us by saying, "Pace e Bene". That is Italian for Pax et Bonum, Peace and good will, which is the slogan of our order.  We stand for Peace, as I hope, thought I often doubt, do all Christians.

    In the world we live in today, the world of ISIS, Boko Haram, drug cartels and human trafficking, just to mention a few of the expressions of madness in our world, it can seem foolish and naive to speak of peace.  One can feel, as did John the Baptist, like a voice crying in the wilderness.

   That having been said I believe that as a Franciscan, as a Catholic, as a Christian, that I must cry out for peace in the world. The question is, "How does one do that?"  Obviously terrorists who massacre innocent people must be stopped.  I have no problem with that.  The challenge comes in asking how do we stop the cycle of violence in the world.  Rea…