Amid efforts to shoot down Nazi aircraft, 18-year-old Tech Sgt. Don Bertino said he and other Catholic American soldiers had become used to celebrating Mass in the middle of a battlefield or on the back of pickups.
But on Dec. 24, 1944, the soldiers briefly left their gun positions for one of their most special services - midnight Mass in an underground, abandoned salt mine in Maastricht, Holland. The hour-long Mass allowed the Catholic soldiers an opportunity to celebrate their faith despite being away from their church and families.
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