A reader writes:
My grandfather grew up in a large family in rural Poland during the 20s. He was sent around from aunt to aunt; as the youngest boy, times were hard and he worked to help pay for his keep. He spent a lot of time working the farm and fields of the local parish church, backbreaking jobs in exchange for a meal or two.
As a teenager, the pastor one day followed him out to the remote field my grandfather was working and told my grandfather he intended to get what he wanted.
My grandfather had the courage to lift a huge rock at his feet and told the priest, "take one step closer and I swear I'll kill you." The pastor laughed and said "You're nobody. Who is going to believe your word against mine?"
My grandfather married a Catholic girl, left Poland for Brooklyn, allowed my grandmother to raise my mother as a Catholic, but he himself never again set foot inside a church. He never spoke of what happened, and it wasn't until he died 20 years ago that I learned from my grandmother why he never went to Mass with us all those years.