Passover 2016

2016 Annual Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

2016 Finalists

On April 20, 2016, 125 finalists in the Annual Respect Life Creative Writing Contest gathered at the Cardinal Rigali Center to be recognized for their outstanding entries. 

These finalists, representing over 80 different Catholic elementary schools, parish schools of religion, and home schools, were selected from over 1100 entries. Finalists received a certificate of commendation, T-shirt, and book and were recognized by Bishop Edward Rice. Open to 8th graders in the Archdiocese, the contest asked students to respond to the prompt: Explain why living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness.

From these finalists, six students were recognized as honorable mention winners and five students were selected as scholarship winners. Honorable mention winners received a $250 award; the scholarship winners received a $1000 scholarship to be applied to their Catholic high school of choice. All honorable mention and scholarship winners also each received three tickets to the Annual Respect Life Convention in October, hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate.  

Honorable mention winners this year are:

  • Brianna Dierks from St. Patrick-Wentzville Grade School and Parish (Liberty High School)
  • Taylor Elmore, a homeschooler from St. Bridget of Kildare Parish & PSR (St. Francis Borgia High School)
  • Sara E. Franke from Queen of All Saints Grade School and Parish (Nerinx Hall)
  • Patrick Meehan, a homeschooler from St. Dominic Savio Parish (Bishop Du Bourg High School)
  • Peter Francis Montgomery from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Homeschool and St. Clement of Rome Parish (St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Homeschool)
  • Harrison Petty from St. Clement of Rome Grade School and Parish (Saint Louis University High School)

Scholarship winners this year are:

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Maria Klassen from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (St. Dominic High School)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Daniel Vaporean, a homeschooler from St. Joseph-Manchester Parish (Homeschool)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships:
    • Madeline Derleth from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (Barat Academy)
    • Elle Reardon from St. Clement of Rome Grade School and Parish (Villa Duchesne)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Eric Meyer from St. Charles Borromeo Grade School and Parish (Chaminade College Prep)

To read the winning essays, click on each student's name.

Congratulations to all of our finalists, honorable mention winners,
and scholarship winners!!



Above our scholarship and honorable mention winners pose for a photograph with Bishop Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Michael Auchley, Missouri Knights of Columbus Respect Life Director, and Brian Cochran, nephew of the late Bishop Edward O'Donnell after whom one of the scholarships is named. Winners pictured from left to right are Madeline Derleth, Maria Klassen, Daniel Vaporean, Taylor Elmore, Harrison Petty, Peter Francis Montgomery, Elle Reardon, Sara Franke, Brianna Dierks, Patrick Meehan, and Eric Meyer.


Maria Klassen from St. Joseph Grade School in Cottleville (St. Dominic H.S.) - Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship Winner

The atrocity of harming a child
Is brought to its very height
In this supreme outrage of natural law
And trespass of human rights.

To kill a small child who’s not even born
But was always a part of God’s plan
Shows a coldness of heart and a lack of respect
For every woman and man.

I think that it’s time that we recognize
Each individual’s worth
And treat other people the way they deserve
Even before their birth.

Abortion and chastity are so much alike
In more ways than we realize
For to hurt a small child or a woman or man
Is surely akin in God’s eyes.

Each child of God has a dignity
That we must learn to protect
To lead one away from the kingdom of Heaven
Is not something we should accept.

We must learn to put others before our own lives
And safeguard innocence at all costs
If we don’t save this treasure before it’s too late
It’s not long before all will be lost.

You deserve true love, and so does your child
And so does everyone
And to be satisfied with less than enough
Is to give in, and say that you’re done.

We should search for true love, and wait for the one
Who is truly and perfectly right.
One who will help us to follow God’s laws
And keep the right path in our sight.

Fight for love, and fight for life,
And fight for all that is true
For you may be sure, although you can’t see it
God is fighting for you.

Daniel Vaporean, a homeschooler from St. Joseph in Manchester Parish (Home School) - Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship Winner

Good versus Evil

Each day of our lives we bravely fight on a battlefield where evil clashes with good. Piously, St. Paul who preached to the Ephesians, advised to wear the spiritual “armor of God” for protection in battle. Utilizing the spiritual armor, which consists of the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation will help us to live chaste lives. By living chastely, while preventing the evil of abortion, we will be blessed with true holiness and our lives filled with health and happiness.

The shield of faith protects chastity by helping us to live as God planned, which is through obedience to the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Since God’s plan for marriage is the uniting, both physically and mentally, of one man and one woman, it is important that they commit to each other freely, fruitfully, faithfully, and forever. Living according to this plan, sexuality would only be shared by married couples who truly love each other. This would prevent the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy, which may lead to an abortion. The breastplate of righteousness assists in prudence and practicing self-control. Willfully avoiding movies, music, and pornography, which encourage unchaste behaviors, keeps our souls holy as we exercise good judgment. Dressing modestly avoids attention being drawn to our sexual bodies and allows friendships to develop which are not based on lust. In keeping our bodies chaste with the helmet of salvation, we will have healthy bodies and avoid the risk of getting sexual diseases which may cause suffering and death. Valiantly remembering to wear our spiritual armor, we will be protected by God and His teachings to live a life of chastity.

God desires the best for us. When we love as He wants us to love, we experience true joy and happiness. We will be content because we know we are following God’s unsurpassable plan. Abortion will be no more. Living our lives in this way will help us increase in virtue and holiness. By faithfully wearing our spiritual armor and living chastely, evil will be defeated and good will win!

Madeline Derleth from St. Joseph in Cottleville Grade School (Barat Academy) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

A Smile on God’s Face

There are many virtues that make us unique,
But chastity really requires us to think.
Created in God’s image we shall always cherish,
But forgetting chastity will cause us to perish.
Pure and holy our bodies must remain,
For if we forget, then a life of pain.
Our bodies were created in God’s image of great beauty.
Protecting it and keeping it safe is our duty.
True love waits for that special one,
Whether that be a spouse, staying single, or life as a nun.

Our society seems as if it has forgotten this virtue,
Saying it is alright to do things that hurt you.
Having sex on a first date,
It’s ok, you don’t have to wait.
Doesn’t anyone see the lies they say?
Innocent lives and the prices they’ll pay?
So many abortions because of this sin,
Giving up chastity so Satan will win.
Statistics don’t lie, they speak the truth,
So many abortions from those unchaste youth.
Eighty-three percent of abortions that take place,
Are on women who have not married in God’s holy space.
Forgetting chastity doesn’t only hurt you,
Innocent babies are suffering too.
Abortion is forever, you can’t go back,
So remember your worth to keep you on track.

Your health is important and must be treated with care,
But abortion will scar you and recovery is rare.
Your body and mind will never be the same,
Stay chaste and remember your health isn’t a game.
True happiness doesn’t come from what you get this minute,
Staying true to yourself and your values will win it.
Remember to think before you act,
Because once you do, you can never go back.
All life is precious and valuable too,
So stay chaste to be a happier you.

Remember that God loves you so much,
Remaining chaste will help keep you in touch.
Holiness is your goal to achieve,
Keeping your body pure is what you must believe.
Not only will you be filled with grace,
But you will put a smile on God’s face.

Elle Reardon from St. Clement of Rome Grade School (Villa Duchesne) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

As a teen, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by mixed messages related to moral issues. The idea that chastity protects us from abortion might initially sound unlikely. Choosing to have sex doesn’t necessarily mean someone supports abortion. Although in reality, the compromises made in deciding to live an unchaste life can lead to further compromises in believing abortion is acceptable. Chastity is crucial for prohibiting abortion because it prevents the circumstances where someone would seek an abortion. Chastity protects us from worrying about unplanned pregnancies and feeling pressured to resort to an abortion.

Chastity blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness because it honors a commitment to yourself, your future spouse, and the Holy Spirit. It may seem like chastity is depriving us from happiness because of social media’s influence giving us an inside view of what others are doing minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. Jenny went to Paris! Joe got a hoverboard! The latest posts make it appear as though happiness is found in having new and exciting experiences. Your life can look boring in comparison, making you doubt your own choices, leaving you with fear of missing out. It may distort your perception of what is morally acceptable because “everyone else is doing it.” What isn’t’ seen in those online posts is how one teenager cried herself to sleep feeling ashamed for having sex or how another teen felt scared to learn he had a sexually transmitted disease. There was also the girl whose parents were mourning because she felt forced to have an abortion for fear of embarrassment. Chastity truly protects us from negative consequences.

Our relationships are strengthened by valuing the gift of chastity. True happiness is found in the joy of honoring God and in being mindful of moments in life that give genuine meaning to your beliefs. I believe abortion is morally wrong and that chastity is the first step in saving millions of unborn lives. I challenge you to step up and commit to honor the virtue of chastity as your personal vow to protect the unborn.

Eric Meyer from St. Charles Borromeo Grade School (Chaminade College Prep) - Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship Winner

The Past, Present, and Future of Chastity

When I was younger, life seemed simple. My parents made all of my decisions. There were few differences between the boys and girls in my class. I never thought about chastity because I didn’t know what it was and it was not an important issue. I learned the difference between right and wrong, but the situations I faced never seemed life-changing. I realize now how easy things were back then and sometimes wish they were still that way.

Now times are different. My parents are beginning to trust me to make my own decisions. Some decisions are small, like what to eat for dinner. Other choices aren’t so simple. For example, whether to join in when other boys are behaving poorly so I can look like I am part of the “popular crowd.” As a teenager, I am starting to understand what the virtue of chastity means. Chastity refers to having pure thoughts and actions. The relationships I have with my female classmates are different now because we are changing physically and emotionally. I must remember to treat them respectfully and not make crude comments while texting or in person. Chastity is also not having sexual relations before marriage. When I am older and have a girlfriend, chastity will be more of an issue. But I know if I stay strong in my faith and live a chaste life, I will not have to worry about STDs, pregnancies, or abortions. This seems like an easy decision, doesn’t it?

In the future, I hope to get married. It would make me happy to tell my wife that I remained chaste and I would love for her to say the same thing to me. It would be nice to begin our life together knowing that our past decisions will lead to holiness, health, and happiness in our marriage. I think that being a role model for my children is also important. If throughout our lives we stay close to God and practice the virtue of chastity, there will be no need for abortions and we will have a life full of blessings.





Statement Regarding Rev. Thomas J. Graham

April 20, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, has announced a recently reported allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against retired priest Reverend Thomas J. Graham which occurred in the 1980s at St. Alban Roe Catholic Church in Wildwood.

Due to a previous allegation, Father Graham, who resides in a restricted environment, is already on permanent administrative leave which prohibits him from engaging in priestly ministry, including actions such as presenting himself publicly as a priest, wearing clerical attire, offering Mass publicly, or administering the sacraments.

In keeping with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, to ensure transparency in communicating with the public about allegations of sexual abuse of minors and as an outreach to potential victims, an announcement about this allegation will be made in the archdiocesan newspaper, The St. Louis Review, in the parish bulletin where the new allegation surfaced, and in other parishes where Fr. Graham served.

We continue to pray for the victims of the grave evil of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages all persons with reports of abuse of a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704, the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800.392.3738 and/or law enforcement officials.


Major Catholic Conference in St. Louis on Saturday

April 18, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

“One Faith Experience” at Chaifetz Arena Will Inspire, Educate

ST. LOUIS – Several nationally-known Catholic speakers will descend on Chaifetz Arena, Saturday, April 23, for the “One Faith Experience” presented by Third Millennium Media.

The line-up features a full day of hope and inspiration from speakers Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, Fr. Larry Richards, Tim Staples, Teresa Tomeo, Adam Blai and St. Louis resident Hector Molina. Recording artists Matt Maher, John Tibbs and The Thirsting will take the stage for a concert to conclude the “Experience.”

The conference runs from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at Ticketmaster outlets, and at the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. More information can be found at

Third Millennium Media, founded by longtime Catholic media professional Jerry Usher, is a company committed to promoting Catholic speakers, artists and organizations through the use of media.

According to Third Millennium Media, “This one day conference will be fast paced and full of exciting opportunities. The concert in the evening is the perfect close to a magnificent day. If you are looking for a way to elevate your spiritual life, to grow in your faith, then being present at One Faith most certainly is what you’re searching for.”

Additional information about Third Millennium Media may be found at


Random Acts of Sportsmanship Spotted as CYC’s 8th Lacrosse Season Gets into Full Swing

The CYC's 8th Lacrosse Season is in full swing. What started as 2 boys' teams in 2008 has turned into 26 boys' teams and 27 girls' teams this season.  That is over 900 girls and boys playing CYC youth lacrosse.  We have leagues for 5-6th grade teams and 7-8th grade teams.  The season began March 12 and continues through May 21st.

We want to get the word out to fans, coaches, officials, players to report to us any Random Acts of Sportsmanship (RAS) that they witness during CYC lacrosse games. These are acts that we want to encourage all our participants to display every time they take the field (or court!)  In addition to recognizing winners of games, we feel it is imperative for the CYC to search for and recognize Acts of Sportsmanship at our athletic events.  As a Catholic organization we must train our children to display Christian values in all parts of their lives, especially during athletic competition. 

The CYC recognizes and commends Keith Brisotti, St. Alban Roe lacrosse coach.  During his team's games you can hear him on the sideline encouraging the kids, saying such things as: "nice save", "great pass", "that was a great shot" and "good cradling".  What makes this so impressive is he says it as often to the opposing players as he does to his own players.  He loves the sport of lacrosse and enjoys seeing ALL the players make good plays and progress in their skills.  This has earned him a RAS Award.

We would also like to recognize sisters Maria and Alyssa Johnson, CYC Lacrosse officials.  Not only do they do a great job of calling games, but they explain their calls to the players.  Since most of the players are new to the sport, those explanations are very helpful as they learn the game of lacrosse.  In addition, this past Saturday both Maria and Alyssa took turns running up and down the field with a new official to help her as she officiated her first two games of the season.  Thank you, girls!  Your sportsmanship is much appreciated!

As always, we ask you to keep your eyes and ears open and let us know when you see any RAS, whether during Lacrosse games or any other CYC games.  Simply send an email to with an explanation of the act, so we can recognize and reward that player, coach, official or fan. You can also contact Buzz if you have any questions about CYC Lacrosse. Remember... Good Sportsmanship makes Great Sports!  

19th Annual Catholic Women's Award Celebration

Sunday, August 21, 2016
3:00 PM
St. Joseph Church, 567 St. Joseph Ln., Manchester, MO  63021
Category: Mirror of Justice

The woman chosen for this award is a woman who actively works to change systematic injustice and to promote human dignity; one who lives justly and leave people uncomfortable in their own complacency. For more information, please call Jo Ann Owings at 314.792.7179.

Statement on Pope Francis' Exhortation 'Amoris Laetitia'

April 8, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS - The Archdiocese of St. Louis welcomes the post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, "The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family," released today by the Holy Father. The exhortation is, among other things, a universal call to promote, encourage, and support the family as the most fundamental unit of society. As Pope Francis said in September 2015: “The family is the answer because it is the cell of society that balances the personal and communal dimensions…”

The Holy Father has also challenged bishops, pastors, and the faithful around the world to seek ways in which families of various circumstances may be better "integrated" into the life of the Church.

We look forward to thoroughly studying the document and examining how Pope Francis is calling us to “return marriage and the family to the place of honor” as he has previously stated.


becomingONE - A Quarterly Catholic Speaker Series for Young, Married Couples

The second installment of the becomingONE speaker series will take place on Saturday, April 16th, from 10 AM to 12 PM at St. Joseph's Parish in Clayton. This series aims to build community and offer practical Catholic wisdom for the married life! 

Fr. Brian Fallon, Assistant Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, will be discussing how to pray, discern and grow spiritually with your spouse.  Coffee and pastries will be provided, and there will be time to socialize with other couples. 

We invite all young adult married couples to join us for the becomingONE marriage speaker series! Please email if you have any questions.  No need to register, but for more details, please see here.

Drew Hoffman winner of 2016 Homily Contest

Please join us in congratulating Drew Hoffman the 2016 Homily Contest Winner in the Marriage, Family and Sexuality course at Kenrick Glennon Seminary!  To read this compelling homily click here.

St. Louis Women of Faith in Dialogue

Can't make it to the Women's Interfaith Conference tomorrow? Here's a word from some of our speakers on their experience in dialogue!

2016 Melchizedek Open

Archbishop Carlson Announces Excellence in Communication Award Recipients

March 31, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis media and communications professionals Chuck Neff and Tom Kavanaugh have been selected as the 2016 Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Excellence in Communication Award recipients. The award is a way for the Archdiocese of St. Louis to recognize the important role of the media and communication professionals in our local community as they work to inspire positive change in response to the significant issues facing our society today. This is the fourth year of the awards.

Chuck Neff, a veteran TV journalist, is currently the host of The Inner Life, a daily show on the Catholic network, Relevant Radio, and the president of Salt River Production Group (, a collaboration of nationally acclaimed, award-winning production professionals committed to creating high quality faith and values programming.

In 1999, Neff was extensively involved in the Pastoral Visit of Pope John Paul II to St. Louis. He coordinated the TV pool coverage for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He also served as Executive Producer in the production of “Gateway to Faith,” the official video of the Holy Father’s visit to St. Louis.

Neff and his wife Judy have four children and nine grandchildren. They are members of Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield.

Tom Kavanaugh has had a lifetime of experience in the communication field, much of it involving religious and non-profit organizations in the St. Louis area.

After seven years as a teacher in St. Louis Archdiocesan schools, Kavanaugh worked as Director of Community and Public Relations at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital before moving into the field of marketing communications – as partner with Ahearn, Kavanaugh and Associates, President of Triune Communications, and currently as Creative Director of iU Creative—specializing in Catholic non-profits, specifically in education and healthcare. It was in this capacity that Kavanaugh designed the “Life Rose” logo for Missouri Right to Life.

In the early 1970s Kavanaugh began his other role as movie critic for the St. Louis Review, an assignment he held for over thirty years.

Kavanaugh and his wife Maureen are members of Our Lady of Sorrows parish in south city. They have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

Neff and Kavanaugh join previous awards winners including KSDK meteorologist Mike Roberts, the late Martin Duggan, and St. Louis media personality Wendy Wiese. Two winners are selected from a pool of nominees each year - one Catholic and one secular. The winners are honored at a ceremony with Archbishop Carlson every summer. For more information about the award and to see a complete list of previous winners, visit


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