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  • Wednesday, September 05, 2018

    The graces to succeed

    [New York Legionnaire Robert Stronach penned this article about a Vietnam vet-turned priest. It appears on]

    Flying over the jungles of Vietnam in an Air Force rescue helicopter, Sgt. Ed McKenzie was struck by an inspiring vista.

    “It was a beautiful country if you could look beyond the misery of the war. It could have been a garden of Eden.”

    Today, McKenzie remembers the Vietnam War in another way – as a Franciscan priest offering daily Masses for busy downtown Chicagoans. When he consecrates the wine on the altar, his mind flashes back to his helicopter, messy with the blood of the wounded and dead. He is suddenly in the chopper, back from its rescue mission, and he is once again washing away the blood. But no cleansing removes the haunting memory.

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