By Fr. Richard Heilman

I have been honored to know many from “Greatest Generation,” and many of them were WWII Veterans. These were heroes who knew their duty to stand in the breach for God and country against evil powers who sought to inflict destruction against anyone who would stand in their way to dominate the planet.

One such hero was Sam Balistreri. Sam was the father of my sister’s husband, Joe. Sam passed to eternal life a few years ago. When he passed, Joe inherited a very special treasure from his dad.

Combat Rosaries are touched to this relic of the True Cross of Christ.

Here’s the amazing story about this special treasure …

Sam was one of those who were part of one of the decisive battles of WWII. It was the invasion of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944 … D-Day. As the invasion moved inland, Sam happened upon a bombed-out castle. As he investigated, he realized he was standing in the private chapel of this enormous castle, now leveled.

Sam approached the sanctuary and saw that the large crucifix was lying face down on the ground. Sam’s devout Catholic faith could not allow him to walk by without, at least, turning the crucifix face up. As we went to move it, the skull cap of our Lord popped off. It was clear it was designed to open and close. Why? Well, once the cap fell off, something inside spilled out. Sam had no idea what it was, but he knew it was something sacred, and he couldn’t just let it lie there on the ground. So, he placed it in his pocket, and continued with his military mission in France.

After the war, Sam was visiting his sister who was a nun in Milwaukee, WI. He happened to bring with him his war memento and, since it came from a church, he pulled it out to ask the group of nuns if they knew what this might be. Once they glanced at what Sam was holding in his hand, all of the nuns dropped to their knees, and began praying and bowing and making the sign of the cross. They knew they were in the presence of a very rare Relic of the True Cross of Christ.

Not too long ago, the leading expert on relics, Fr. Carlos Martins, verified that it was, indeed, an authentic Relic of the True Cross of Christ.

Of course, any Relic of the True Cross is very special, but this particular relic, with its connection to D-Day, makes a nice touch for these heroes we are honoring.

The Church teaches that religious articles touched to this relic makes their religious articles a third-class relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ! That makes these Combat Rosaries for Heroes very powerful spiritual weapons.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!