It would be easy to consider the hardened criminals inside Louisiana’s maximum security prison at Angola simply as monsters.  The Christopher Award-winning documentary Serving Life, however, challenges that view by exploring the prison’s hospice program in which inmates care for their fellow prisoners who are sick and dying. The film follows several inmates as they confront the fragility of life while growing in compassion and moving toward redemption.  As one volunteer explains, “I’ve heard hospice referred to as a process… Read more

Prayer is an important part of our Lenten obligations.  If you find it difficult to pray, you might simply imagine God speaking to you.  His words might sound something like this: You don’t have to be clever to please Me; all you have to do is want to love Me.  Just speak to Me as you would to anyone of whom you are very fond.  Are there people you want to pray for?  Tell Me their names, and ask as… Read more

When Scottish famine relief worker Magnus MacFarlane Barrow traveled to Malawi in 2002, a child he met there told him that his only wish—and by extension, the wish of most children—was “to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.” That encounter, coupled with his desire to follow Jesus’ command to feed the hungry, led Barrow to create Mary’s Meals.  The Scottish-based organization feeds over 500,000 people in 16 poor countries including Kenya, Malawi, Sudan and… Read more

Gilbert McClure, a retired Kansas cattle rancher, lists his recently deceased son John’s best qualities: integrity, sincerity, honesty.  That last one digs deep into his sorrow.  You see, John took his own life, and admitting that is heartbreaking. His parents didn’t see his death coming; his personality was the opposite of his actions.  John was a chef whose popular restaurant was always full.  But as his mother Marilyn told The Kansas City Star, “You have to face the truth so… Read more

“All I want is for her to live, I don’t care if she is injured or not,” Lieutenant Onur Eryasar of the Turkish Air Force told a Reuters news photographer.  He was speaking of his 25-year-old fiancé, who was trapped under rubble following an earthquake in Turkey.  “It doesn’t matter, I just want her alive.” Upon learning of the quake, the lieutenant rushed from his military base to the scene of devastation.  He determined from friends that his fiancé had… Read more

When National Catholic Register writer Matthew Archbold arrived in Virginia on a business trip, he asked an elderly man inside the train station for directions.  The chatty stranger not only gave him directions, but offered to walk him to his destination.  Archbold writes, “I refused…Being a Northener, I figured anyone being this nice was selling something.” Archbold later returned to the station where he again saw the stranger.  Ever a talker, the man revealed that he had been visiting Virginia… Read more

A travel magazine offered this tip about what not to bring on a trip to Thailand—your temper.  In fact, Thais consider such emotional wrath to be a form of insanity. The culture in this Asian nation instead celebrates jai yen, the art of keeping a “cool heart,” and that means keeping your anger in check no matter the circumstances. What’s the secret for such a serene demeanor?  It’s another characteristic of Thai culture—mai pen, or “never mind.”  Thais take problems… Read more

“None of the characters went looking for God, but God found them,” said writer/director/producer Emilio Estevez about his Christopher Award-winning movie, The Way. It tells the story of Tom, an American doctor whose son, Daniel, dies while on the historical pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain.  Because of his strained relationship with Daniel, Tom decides to honor his memory by embarking on the pilgrimage himself.  Along the road, he’s joined by other travelers whose friendship he… Read more

Father Matthew Muñoz from the Diocese of Orange, California, has an impressive lineage.  His grandfather is Academy Award-winning actor John Wayne. In an interview with Catholic News Agency, Father Muñoz explained Wayne’s spiritual path: “He was raised with a lot of Christian principles and a Bible faith that, I think, had a strong impact upon him.” In 1933, Wayne married a young Catholic woman named Josephine who is Father Muñoz’s grandmother.  The priest said, “He was constantly at Church events…After… Read more

In December 2011, Minnesota teen Jack Jablonski was paralyzed from the neck down after taking a hit from behind into the boards during a junior-varsity hockey game.  The injury touched the hearts of players throughout the National Hockey League. New York Rangers rookie defenseman Stu Bickel was first to respond by donating a jersey a few days after the injury.  Fans and professional players from across the country have shown an outpouring of support.  More importantly, within a month of… Read more

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