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Marcus Slavenas: A Lost Vet Finds the Church View Comments
By Dan Petrella

ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2003, Marcus Slavenas got the phone call that changed everything. He had just finished work and saw that he had a voice mail from his dad: “Please call me back, Marcus.”

From the sound of his father’s voice, he knew someone in the family was dead.

When Marcus called back, his dad gave him the bad news: His younger brother, Brian, had been piloting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that was shot down near Fallujah, Iraq. Brian was dead, along with 15 others.

Marcus went home and threw a fit, throwing chairs, making so much noise that his downstairs neighbors called the landlord.

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Dan Petrella is a freelance journalist from Champaign, Illinois, who writes and fact-checks for various publications, including Chicago, Illinois Alumni and The News Gazette of Champaign. He reports for www.cu-citizenaccess.org of Urbana on social and economic issues and is a research consultant on a business book for Third Angle, Inc., of Wilmette, Illinois. During the 2009-2010 school year he was a teaching assistant for the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois.

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Michael Giedroyc: A life of physical pain and mental torment didn’t prevent Michael Giedroyc from achieving holiness. 
<p>Born near Vilnius, Lithuania, Michael suffered from physical and permanent handicaps from birth. He was a dwarf who had the use of only one foot. Because of his delicate physical condition, his formal education was frequently interrupted. But over time, Michael showed special skills at metalwork. Working with bronze and silver, he created sacred vessels, including chalices.</p><p>He traveled to Kraków, Poland, where he joined the Augustinians. He received permission to live the life of a hermit in a cell adjoining the monastery. There Michael spent his days in prayer, fasted and abstained from all meat and lived to an old age. Though he knew the meaning of suffering throughout his years, his rich spiritual life brought him consolation. Michael’s long life ended in 1485 in Kraków.</p><p>Five hundred years later, Pope John Paul II visited the city and spoke to the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. The 15th century in Kraków, the pope said, was “the century of saints.” Among those he cited was Blessed Michael Giedroyc.</p> American Catholic Blog Every connection we make with our brothers and sisters on earth holds great power. Each day, God calls us to be in community, to share faith and friendship, and to lead each other into a beautiful, miraculous, and radical relationship with God.

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