On this Feast of the Holy Innocents, we remember the small children killed by Herod after the birth of Jesus.

In more recent years, there are been so many innocent lives that have been lost through violence, from the recent 26 victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., to the 200,000 victims of the civil war in Guatemala in the ’80s.

Returned missioner Kathy Snider served in Guatemala in the late 1980s in the Ixcán jungle and built relationships with some of the survivors of the conflict:

“Javier is my kind friend, my brother. He continues to teach me about life. He is thin, in his early 40’s, a bit frail. He knows hardship.

In the early ’80s during the 36-year civil war in Guatemala he was shot down. They call it the Massacre at the Playa, when just a boy, he laid there wounded looking up at the enemy –a man who held a gun pointed at him and said, ‘I can kill you – now.’  Javier replied, ‘Go ahead.’

Instead the man kicked him. Six innocent people died that day.

Javier lives with both inner and outer scars – to raise seven children, farm his land of corn and beans and become my friend – to teach me about humility, love, forgiveness and faith. I see Jesus in him.”

Help Franciscan Mission Service continue to train and send missioners like Kathy who serve in solidarity with people like Javier. Make a donation today.