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
Media 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
Media 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 ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, at Ticketmaster outlets, and at the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. More information can be found at onefaithexperience.com.

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 thirdmillenniummedia.com.


Statement on Pope Francis' Exhortation 'Amoris Laetitia'

April 8, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media 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.


Archbishop Carlson Announces Excellence in Communication Award Recipients

March 31, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media 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 (saltriverproductions.com), 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 archstl.org/excellence.


Two St. Louis Leaders Named Outstanding Catholic Educators by National Catholic Educational Association

March 28, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Reverend Monsignor Jack Costello, pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in Kirkwood, and David Laughlin, president of Saint Louis University High School, along with 30 other individuals from around the country, will be honored as outstanding Catholic educators on Tuesday, March 29 by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).

The awards will be presented at a dinner during the NCEA’s annual Convention and Expo, held this year in San Diego, March 29-31. In announcing the 32 recipients of the 2016 Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Awards, the NCEA said the purpose of the award is to “highlight the outstanding work of Catholic school educators in communities across the country.”

Among the awardees are Catholic school leaders, teachers, principals and presidents, pastors, diocesan superintendents, school boards and home school associations.

NCEA’s 2016 Convention and Expo is the largest private-education association gathering in the nation. The annual convention draws more than 4,500 members and participants from Catholic school communities including elementary and secondary school teachers and principals, religious education programs as well as diocesan offices, church pastors, superintendents, school boards.  The convention is a forum to exchange ideas, hear about current research and data related to Catholic education and learn about new technology and resources.

Representatives from the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are in San Diego this week to welcome attendees to the 2017 NCEA Convention and Expo to be held in St. Louis.


St. Louis Catholics Prepare to Celebrate Easter

March 24, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis community is invited to join Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and around the world in the solemn celebration of Holy Week, which began with Palm Sunday on March 20.

The week is highlighted by the commemoration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, Christ’s Passion and death on Good Friday, and culminates in the joy of His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

A diverse selection of Holy Week celebrations can be found in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with liturgies and services in nine different languages, including English, Spanish, and Latin; the principal celebrations of Holy Week take place at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

For a listing of convenient locations and times of Holy Week and Easter celebrations, including those at the Cathedral Basilica, please contact the Office of Communications and Planning.


FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES: Holy Week is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. Holy Week includes:

Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday, in reference to Judas Iscariot's intent to betray Jesus.

Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum-- the period which commemorates the Passion and death of Christ. 

Holy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper and initiates the Easter Triduum. This Mass is normally celebrated in the evening, which, according to Jewish tradition, is when Friday begins, as the Last Supper was held on the feast of Passover.

Good Friday commemorates Christ’s passion, crucifixion, and death in reparation for the sins of all mankind.

Holy Saturday, or the Easter Vigil, is the final day of Lent, of Holy Week, and of the Easter Triduum, and is the day we commemorate Christ lying in the tomb. The Easter Vigil Mass, takes place after sundown on Holy Saturday, actually belongs to Easter Sunday, since liturgically each day begins at sundown on the previous day. The ceremonies of the Easter Vigil include the blessing of new fire and the lighting of the Easter Candle, also known as the Paschal Candle.

Easter Sunday is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year, commemorating the resurrection of Christ. Easter is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments. We celebrate Christ’s resurrection as the moment where salvation was given to all who believe.

Statement on the Passing of Joe Garagiola

March 24, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS - Archbishop Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis extend prayerful condolences to the family of former St. Louis Cardinal and broadcaster Mr. Joe Garagiola. We pray for repose of the soul of Mr. Garagiola and the Garagiola family during this difficult time.


Archdiocese of St. Louis and Little Sisters of the Poor to Hold Joint Press Conference on Religious Liberty

March 22, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

WHAT: Press Conference
WHERE: Little Sisters of the Poor St. Louis Residence (3225 N. Florissant Avenue, St Louis, MO 63107)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 12 p.m.
WHO: Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice and the Little Sisters of the Poor
WHY: To address the oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the case of Little Sisters v. Burwell

ST. LOUIS – The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Little Sisters of the Poor will hold a joint press conference on Wednesday, March 23, at the Little Sisters St. Louis Residence (3225 N. Florissant Avenue, St Louis, MO 63107) beginning at 12 p.m.

Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, Mother Gonzague, mother superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor in St. Louis, and Sr. Marysia Weber, director of the Office of Consecrated Life, Archdiocese of St. Louis, will comment on the case and the state of religious liberty in the United States.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday.

Members of the media are invited to attend. An RSVP is requested.


Special Palm Sunday Mass at Historic Downtown Church

March 17, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Catholics around the world will gather this weekend to celebrate Palm Sunday, the day Christians recall Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem when His followers scattered palms in His path. In St. Louis, Historic St. Mary of Victories Catholic Church in downtown will play host to a special “Mass Mob” on Palm Sunday, March 20 at 10 a.m. The second oldest church in the City of St. Louis has stood at the corner of 3rd and Gratiot since construction began in 1843.

This will be the sixth St. Louis Mass Mob after the first one took place at Most Holy Trinity in April 2015. Mass Mobs are scheduled, grassroots gatherings at historic urban Catholic churches with the intent of drawing hundreds of people to attend Mass and support these churches where crowds are normally very small. The Palm Sunday Mass at St. Mary of Victories will feature English, Latin and Hungarian elements - as well as Gregorian chant and a Hungarian choir.

Complimentary coffee, donuts, and Hungarian pastries will be available after Mass. The church will also hold a cookie sale with products from Dad's Cookies, The Missouri Baking Company, Vitale's Bakery, Lubeley's Bakery, McArthur's Bakery, Diana's Bakery, and more.

Palm Sunday begins the solemn celebration of Holy Week, which includes the commemoration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, Christ’s passion and death on Good Friday, and culminates in the joy of His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

More information about Historic St. Mary of Victories can be found at smov.info. More information about St. Louis Mass Mobs can be found at facebook.com/stlouismassmob.


Archdiocese to Offer Masses in Honor of Catholics Martyred in Yemen

March 11, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – The Archdiocese of St. Louis will celebrate three Masses on Monday, March 14, 2016 to honor the four sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and more than a dozen other victims who were martyred in Yemen on Friday, March 4. The massacre took place in a nursing home operated by the Missionaries of Charity, though reportedly none of the residents were harmed.

 The times and locations of the Masses are as follows:

8:00 a.m. – Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (4431 Lindell, 63108)
Celebrated by Most Reverend Robert Hermann, Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus

11:45 a.m. – Cardinal Rigali Center Chapel (20 Archbishop May Dr., 63119)
Celebrated by Reverend Msgr. John Shamleffer

6:00 p.m. – Sts. Teresa and Bridget Parish (3636 N. Market, 63113)
Celebrated by Most Reverend Edward Rice, Auxiliary Bishop

The Missionaries of Charity have a convent in north St. Louis where they operate a soup kitchen, a night shelter for women, and an after school program for children. The sisters are anticipated to be in attendance at the 6:00 p.m. Mass at Sts. Teresa and Bridget Parish.

These Masses are being offered as an act of solidarity and support in prayer for the Missionaries of Charity in the archdiocese and throughout the world. Even those who cannot attend are encouraged to pray for the repose of the souls of these sisters, and for all Christians who face persecution around the world.

“The Missionaries of Charity truly are the hands of Christ in our world today,” said Sr. Marysia Weber, director of the Office of Consecrated Life in the archdiocese. “Their martyrdom is a reminder that the Gospel is not welcome everywhere, but we as Christians are called to live our faith in the public square, regardless of the consequences.”


Click here for a flier for the Masses

Archdiocese of St. Louis to Host Weekend of Reconciliation

March 3, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS - Catholic churches across the Archdiocese of St. Louis will take part in a "Reconciliation Initiative" this weekend, March 4-5, in conjunction with the Year of Mercy and the season of Lent. More than 50 parishes will offer 75 scheduled opportunities throughout the weekend for Catholics to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation, also known as confession.

In 2014, during a regular audience with Vatican pilgrims, Pope Francis encouraged the assembled crowds to "Be courageous, and go to confession." For Catholics, the basic requirement for a good confession is to have the intention of returning to God, to list our sins with true sorrow before the priest, and to desire forgiveness.

"Forgiveness is not something we can give ourselves," added Pope Francis. "One asks it of another person, and in confession, we ask forgiveness from Jesus."

The Gospels demonstrate the importance of the forgiveness of our sins. Lives of saints prove that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins, and a need for the sacrament of reconciliation. The consequences of Original Sin leave within us an inclination towards evil, and we often commit actual sins, both mortal and venial.

Catholics who need help, especially who have been away from the sacrament for some time, can simply ask the priest to help guide them through steps to make a good confession.

A complete list of parishes and more information about the sacrament of reconciliation can be found at archstl.org/confession. More information about the Year of Mercy can be found at archstl.org/mercy. 


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