This issue of the paper feels a lot heftier because it is: Inside you’ll find our Spring Vocations 16-page special section.
Because of that, we don’t have our usual Easter feature of readers’ stories about their path to the Catholic Church.
I think it is good to hear those stories. It serves the same purpose as when married couples take time to recall why they fell in love in the first place; it helps reorient priorities and recover energies.
So if you miss not seeing the conversion stories this year, let me know and we’ll make sure to include them next year.
At the same time, though, you’ll find lots of similar stories in this week’s issue.
To start with, see the Vocations section (Pages 9-24).
- We have interviews with the Dominican nuns who welcomed a television crew from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” into their convent for 24 hours, and how they’re certain that the segment helped Americans (and maybe even some Catholics) come to see that religious life is more about liberation than denial.
- We also have an interview with a 24-year-old pro baseballer who recently traded his cleats for the habit of Norbertine seminarian.
- In this Year for Priests, we also profile six priests from across the country and in a variety of ministries.
- A sister who is a sixth-grade teacher tells how one of her students, a childhood cancer survivor, inspired her and her class to raise money and pray for cancer patients and those who help them.
- Frequent contributor Woodeene Koenig-Bricker reflects on the recent priestly ordination of a young man she’s known since he was a 3-year-old next-door neighbor.
- Plus we interview two centenarian monks (one died shortly before we went to press).
There is also the inspiring conversion story of an Iraq War veteran who is entering the Church this Easter (see Page 6). He’s one of the founders of the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps wounded vets. He lost his sight in an attack, and credits the Catholic faith with helping him rediscover purpose in his life.
Last, do not miss our excerpt of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Irish Catholics about the clerical sex abuse scandal that is gripping that country. Despite what you may have heard in other media outlets, the pope clearly “gets it.” In the letter he is tough on bishops and abuser priests, and empathizes with the victims and doesn’t underestimate the depth of their pain.
“It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church,” he writes. But he points them to Christ. “I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love — even in the darkest and most hopeless situations — to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.”
That’s good news for all of us.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you at the mailing address on the masthead below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.