The role of dads

By Stephen Kempf | Email Stephen
Follow @StephenKempf on Twitter

New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy welcomed his first child, Noah, into the world on Monday, March 31. Congratulations to him and his wife, Tori. Nothing wrong with a father doing everything he can to be at his wife’s side when she is in labor, is there?

Well, some sports talk radio hosts are criticizing Murphy for the decision, saying that he should not have missed two games to be with his wife for the delivery and then the next couple of days. The agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ union allows for an absence of up to three days. So Murphy wasn’t violating any rules, he was taking advantage of a short time off written into the contract. In the long run, he missed 2 games out of 162.

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Game changers in Lent

sports-diaryThe official start of the Major League Baseball season is next week! I love sports in general, but to me there are really only two sports seasons: baseball season and no-baseball season.

There are quite a few reasons why baseball is my favorite. One reason is because it’s just so easy to love when you’re a Cardinals fan! But another major reason is because it’s long. There are so many games to watch!

I won’t claim to watch every single game the Red Birds play, but when I do miss a game – whether in person, on the TV or the radio – I don’t feel completely gypped, like a big football fan probably would.

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Catholic schools are a great treasure, but choosing one can be daunting

Earlier this month I found out that my nephew, Nick, an eighth grader at Our Lady of the Pillar, received his high school acceptance letter. Nick got into the Catholic high school we wanted.  Everyone is happy.

I’m 53 and I don’t remember the Catholic high school selection process being as daunting as it is for kids today. I wanted to go to St. Mary’s High School — all boys — but my mom wanted me to go to Bishop DuBourg High School —co-ed — because she thought I would get into too much trouble at an all-boys school. She was more afraid that I wouldn’t meet any girls. I went to DuBourg.

I remember when our kids went through the Catholic high school selection process. We visited all the schools. We talked about each one. Then the decision was made we wrote down your first, second and third choices. Continue reading

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Lecture by Dr. Jennifer Popiel, “Philippine Duchesne and Women Religious in Saint Louis

Click here to listen to the audio of the March 11 presentation

Among the first to respond to William DuBourg’s call for European priests and religious in the American mission field were Rose Philippine Duchesne and the Religious of the Sacred Heart, though they were soon joined by other female orders who intended to educate, heal the sick, and engage in charitable works.  By the 1860s, women religious like Duchesne could be found across Saint Louis in orders such as the Sisters of Loretto, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, the Daughters of Charity, and the Sisters of Mercy.  These women, some European, many born in America, created, financed, and administered institutions that shaped Saint Louis as it changed from a wild frontier town to a bustling commercial center.  Even to the present day, the hospitals, colleges, and schools they created continue to serve thousands of people, bind together communities, and challenge the status quo.

Practical Lenten Ideas

By Paul Masek | Coordinator of the Reap Team

The following blog originally appeared on the website blog

Today is Ash Wednesday.  And it’s not the feast day of your favorite Pokemon trainer, either.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist sharing this image, which always makes me smirk.

As you know, it’s the first day of Lent!

Lent is a gift, and every year the Church gives us this gift so that we can focus on improving our own personal relationships with God through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

If you are like me, perhaps you’ve made Lenten commitments in the past that were difficult – if not impossible – to maintain.  Broken Lenten promises can easily lead to unnecessary guilt and shame, which then leads to despair.  In previous Lenten seasons, I have found myself lamenting, “If I can’t keep these simple promises, why should I even try?”

It’s important to keep trying to because our attempts make God happy.  One of my favorite prayers by Thomas Merton includes the lines, “I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.”

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Wear your ashes with pride

By Amanda Lindley | Email me 

courtesy of

I love the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” I’ve seen it a handful of times and there’s this super quick scene that makes me laugh and die a little inside at the same time… every time.The main character Charlie, a Catholic, is getting off the school bus in the morning and his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth, an atheist, is waiting for him. He has a recognizable smudge of black on his forehead and, as if she’s a mother straightening up her young son, she licks her thumb and wipes off the ashes with Charlie not putting up a fight whatsoever.

Growing up I didn’t have the issue of being a standout Catholic in a secular world like Charlie did at his public school on Ash Wednesday. I went to Catholic school my entire life, and in grade school and high school, everyone received ashes. In fact, the darker and deeper the mark on your forehead was, the cooler you were!

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Ordinary time doesn’t need to be so ordinary

A solid block of green dates is on the calendar this week.  This is how my liturgically-minded eyes see the week of February 23.  I scratched my head a little.  “Really?” I thought.  “Not a single feast or special memorial of a saint to observe at Mass this coming week?”  A red 12 might signal a martyr, or a white 27 could indicate a confessor of the faith.  At our early morning daily Mass at St. Margaret of Scotland, I like having the opportunity to reflect on a saint’s life.  Being a trained historian, it’s my rare opportunity to have an audience that will listen to a bit of church history.  No such luck (for them?) this week.

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Social media: use it for good

Wow! As a former college athlete and a total “social media junkie,” it was hard for me not to take the words of Coach Rick Pitino a bit personally. After I read his remarks on Tuesday morning, I rolled my eyes, thinking, you probably have not spent a minute on Twitter, you have no idea what good things can come from it.

The University of Louisville men’s basketball coach was not shy with his feelings on social media and sports, with his strict rules banning his players from using social media during the basketball season. Coach Pitino said “Anybody in sports who reads social media is not ‘all there.’ To me, I think it’s the great class of underachievers who live on the Internet and social media. It’s people who waste their time and underachieve because they’re not paying attention to what they should be.”

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