The value of one life
John Hunt writes about the successful Legatus-Papal Foundation pilgrimage to Mexico . . .
Our Catholic faith never fails to remind us that every life is sacred. In a country where 3,300 unborn babies are killed daily by abortion, it can be difficult to grasp the magnitude of this assault on humanity. Yet it’s important to remind ourselves of the value of one life, of every life.
The Blessed Virgin Mary made this eminently clear on Dec. 9, 1531, when she appeared to a humble Aztec Indian, St. Juan Diego, on a hill outside México City. Her message in those five apparitions was one of love and unity with all peoples whatever their state in life.
On an extraordinary weekend in September, members of Legatus and The Papal Foundation experienced this most tangible miracle at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As we moved past the miraculous tilma (cloak), my initial reaction was: “I’ve seen this image many times.” But as I returned again and again to view the image, I found myself not just looking at the image but seeing it.
This gift to one poor and simple man was also a gift to mankind for all eternity. So, while many treat the gift of life rather cavalierly, Our Blessed Mother reminds us of her enduring love for the Juan Diegos of the world — for you and me and for every human being. (Click here for a full report on the pilgrimage.)
Our pilgrimage weekend continued as we visited Villa De Los Niñas (Girlstown), a school in Chalco, outside México City. This impressive school was founded by Monsignor Aloysius “Al” Schwartz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. His schools have prospered in the Philippines, Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, and México. Father Al died in 1992, and the Church has proclaimed him a Servant of God, and his cause for canonization progresses.
Father Al’s life clearly shows the value of “one life,” but the beauty of his ministry resides in the persons of the thousands of girls (in Girlstowns) and boys (in Boystowns) around the world. During our visit, pilgrims met 3,000 beautiful young ladies drawn from the heart of poverty in México. Under the tutelage of the Sisters of Mary, they’re invited to grow in their faith and prepare to change the culture through their education and formation.
Father Al’s vision for the elevation of the poor and his recognition of the value of one life, of every life is certainly the fulfillment of the message of Guadalupe. As Our Lady said to Juan Diego, “My little child, the smallest of all, let nothing afflict you.”
JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.