Pope Benedict XVI’s recent announcement of the Year of Faith, to begin just one year from now, is a fresh exhortation to share with others, one’s ‘Credo’. It’s a great chance now in preparation, to look to the North American Martyrs – today’s Saints! These men who planted the cross in the soil of this continent and in the hearts of the natives back in the 1600s, lived and died in the faith. As in the film The Mission, which follows Jesuit missionaries in their endeavors to build a strong village – a new civilization steeped in faith – for the people of South America, the Cross takes a central focus. At the beginning of the narrative, the native Brazilians send a Jesuit Father over a massive and thundering waterfall – affixed to a cross. This apparent, futile ‘failure’ becomes the impetus for another zealous priest to follow after his martyred confrere and give himself entirely to serving, educating and ministering to the very same tribe. Certainly the circumstances surrounding the North American martyrs had their own set of struggles. Yet the love of Christ burning in their actions and sacrifices gave the same incredible brilliance to their proclamation of the Faith. Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger) in his book Introduction to Christianity speaks of this mystery of the Cross embodied in the martyrs: “Anyone who has stretched his existence so wide that he is simultaneously immersed in God and in the depths of the God-forsaken creature is bound to be torn asunder, as it were; such a one is truly ‘crucified’. But this process of being torn apart is identical with love; it is its realization to the extreme (Jn 13:1) and the concrete expression of the breadth it creates.” The Pope goes on to elaborate that Christ’s love which led Him to reconcile us with the Father through the Cross is stronger than death. This is the greatest proclamation of the martyrs: “Jesus’ total love for men, which leads him to the Cross… becomes stronger than death, because in this it is at the same time total ‘being held’ by [the Father]” (Cardinal Ratzinger).