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WATCH: Arizona Teen Teaches the Power of Redemptive Suffering

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 02/03/16

The way Stephen Dwyer approached his bout with leukemia is a lesson for all
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I think God permits people to offer because it’s a very, very strong way of impacting people. —Stephen Dwyer, AZ teen

As a young boy, he dreamed of playing college and pro football, but in junior high school he fell in love with competitive swimming. He had the mental makeup for it, says his father, Rick. One day at swim practice, Stephen couldn’t get warm and ended up at home with chills and a low-grade fever. Doctors thought he might have mono or a thyroid issue, but after tests, the phone call came: it was leukemia.

A priest friend, Fr. Parks, comforted Stephen and anointed him numerous times. Stephen says receiving the Anointing of the Sick the first time set the path for the rest of his journey, “that it was going to be okay, to be positive, and to constantly turn to God and lean on God because I would need him — well, for the rest of my life — but especially the next year.”

Stephen’s mother, Trish, says that Stephen’s youth minister taught Stephen about redemptive suffering, and that made a huge difference in how he dealt with his pain and challenges.

This inspiring video about Stephen’s faith and persistence in the face of illness comes from Life Teen, a worldwide ministry that began as a youth parish-based youth ministry in Mesa, Arizona, and focuses on bringing teens to Christ in the Eucharist and gathering them together to be formed in the Catholic faith.

Zoe Romanowsky is lifestyle editor and video content producer for Aleteia.

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