I spend a good part of my time traveling the country speaking to young people at schools and colleges. I love the smart questions, the fire and the passion of these young people and the dedication of their teachers. Speaking to thousands of people each year, I get a good sense of the changing mood surrounding the death penalty, and I have felt the rising of the tide against the death penalty.

One sign of that trend was this letter from a high school teacher in Augusta, Georgia, that I received recently and that certainly was “too good not to share”.

Sister Helen,

Let me begin by saying I understand how busy you are and I do not expect a response. But I would be remiss if I didn’t write.

I had the benefit of hearing you speak at my school in Augusta, Georgia several years ago.  I was moved by your words and subsequently by your writing.

I teach Catholic Moral Theology to high school sophomores. I am in the middle of the block on social justice, and have just finished the topic of capital punishment. I am thrilled to say, for the first time in the many years I have taught this subject, my students have been unanimous in their condemnation of capital punishment. Without exception, they have all stated that capital punishment is totally unnecessary and immoral. While I have seen the numbers opposed to capital punishment grow in recent years, this is the first time I have not had at least one dissenting voice.

My emotions are a mixture of pride for their understanding of this critical issue and excitement over the fact that the message may finally be taking hold - that all life is precious.

I have often felt I was making no progress in these issues, but occasionally I see a glimmer of hope.  All I can do is continue the fight. At least now I have hope for the future.

This was too good not to share. Please pray for our youth as they become the decision makers of the future.

Take care and may God continue to bless you in your ministry.