The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," according to early Christian apologist Tertullian. His statement from the second century is no less powerful or appropriate today.

We regularly cover the response of the faithful to persecution all over the world. Consistently underreported in the mainstream media, these often-heroic efforts appeared in many of our top stories for 2013. And it is looking like 2014 will bring more of the same.

On page six of this issue, we examine two reports — from the Vatican’s Fides News Agency and the nondenominational Open Doors — that catalogued a sharp increase in Christians who were killed for their faith last year. In the case of some of the martyrs, causes for canonization have been opened.

The reason I point this out is not to discourage you, but to encourage you to persevere through the trials we face in our short lives here — for what we do here on earth matters. With the Blessed Mother and the communion of saints to guide us to Christ, we can make a difference. As I have said before, this life is the rehearsal for the next one.

God bless you!