by Fr Richard Heilman | March 29, 2016 10:10 PM
We all like to talk about the “Greatest Generation,” and so they were. I was honored to know many from that generation, and many of them were WWII Veterans. These were heroes who knew their duty to stand in the breach for God and country against evil powers who sought to inflict destruction against anyone who would stand in their way to dominate the planet.
One such hero was Sam Balistreri. Sam was the father of my sister’s husband, Joe. Sam passed to eternal life not too long ago. When he passed, Joe inherited a very special treasure from his dad.
Here’s the amazing story about this special treasure …
Sam was one of those who was part of one of the decisive battles of WWII. It was the invasion of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. As the invasion moved inland, Sam happened upon a bombed out castle. As he investigated, he realized he was standing in the private chapel of this enormous castle, now leveled. Of course the private chapel was probably the size of a typical parish church.
Sam approached the sanctuary and saw that the enormous crucifix was lying face down on the ground. Sam’s devout Catholic faith could not allow him to walk by without, at least, turning the crucifix face up. As we went to move it, the skull cap of our Lord popped off. It was clear it was designed to open and close. Why? Well, once the cap fell off, something inside spilled out. Sam had no idea what it was, but he knew he couldn’t just let it lie there on the ground. So, he placed it in his pocket, and continued with his military mission in France.
After the war, Sam was visiting his sister who was a nun in Milwaukee. He happened to bring with him his war memento and, since it came from a church, he pulled it out to ask the group of nuns if they knew what this might be. Once they glanced at what Sam was holding in his hand, all of the nuns dropped to their knees, and began praying and bowing and making the sign of the cross. They knew they were in the presence of a very rare relic of the True Cross.
Not too long ago, the leading expert on relics, Fr. Carlos Martins, verified that it was, indeed, an authentic relic of the True Cross.
Now, get this … My brother-in-law, Joe, just allowed me to be the holder of this relic, until it is handed down to his son, once Joe has passed to eternal life. See the pic above.
I plan to offer many opportunities for people to touch their religious articles to this relic, thus making their religious articles a third class relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ!
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