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The book is ubiquitous and hugely appealing: "1,000 Places to See before You Die." Most of us long to see the world. But beyond mere wanderlust, we have a spiritual need to seek out holy places, touched by great saints and divine events. What’s on your must-see list? Here are some suggestions.
The early Christians established the first institutionalized system for the care of widows, orphans, the sick, and the poor. The Church has taken that care to the ends of the earth. Now many secular organizations serve the needy. But Christian charity goes beyond meeting material needs. It serves the whole person, preserving his God-given dignity.
When the newly baptized Juanillo took a second wife, Fray Pedro admonished him to live the Christian life he professed. The next morning, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 1597, Fray Pedro was murdered on his way to Mass. When the bloodbath was over, four more friars had been martyred for upholding the sanctity of marriage.
Not enough priests. Diocese in bankruptcy. Urban flight. Vanishing ethnic communities. For these reasons and others, parish closings and mergers are necessary in many places. But however necessary, they are traumatic and heartbreaking for those involved. Canon law helps the process by giving clear direction regarding dispersed property and displaced communities.
"Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols."
~ Six companions of Justin Martyr, martyrs all; speaking to the Prefect Rusticus after he threatened them with "torture without mercy" unless they sacrificed to the Roman "gods;" from the trial transcript by Tatian (A.D. 165).