The Church celebrates February 13 the first feast day of the second native-born US martyr since his beatification last December in Guatemala.
Blessed James Miller was a Wisconsin native who lost his life in Guatemala in 1982, at age 37.
After Oklahoma native Father Stanley Rother, he is the second native-born American martyr to be beatified. Fr. Rother was also killed in Guatemala, some seven months before Brother Miller.
Blessed James’ hometown of Polonia, Wisconsin, is ready to celebrate the feast of their beloved “hometown hero.” But Brother James is remembered every day, not just on the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Parochial administrator Father Alan Guanella reflected with Aleteia about how Blessed James’ legacy affects the townsfolk of Polonia.
Aleteia: Does having a beatified “hometown hero” affect the way you pastor your parish? Or your outlook on your role as a priest?
Father Guanella: Having a beatified “hometown hero” does affect the way that I pastor the parish. When I preach on the universal call to holiness and how each one of us is called to be a saint, it is not something that people dismiss quickly. There are many people who knew Brother James and grew up with him. When I preach how each one of us is called to be a saint or to be ready to die for the Faith, the example of Brother James quickly comes into everyone’s thoughts.
Every saint walked the earth at some point in time. Around here, people remember Brother James—they knew him personally. That makes a difference in people’s lives. It allows people to see that sainthood is not only our calling but something that is obtainable, with God’s help.
Read more at Aleteia