Archdiocesan news briefs

250th anniversary

A holy hour and midnight Mass on New Year's Eve at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis will inaugurate the archdiocese's celebration of the founding of St. Louis in February 1764 by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau on the bluffs above the Mississippi River. Holy hour will begin at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the cathedral basilica, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End of St. Louis. Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice will celebrate the Mass. For more information on events the archdiocese is sponsoring, go to www.archstl.org/catholicstl250.

Motherhood speaker series

The Mary of Nazareth Speaker Series begins Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive in Shrewsbury. Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice will offer a blessing and speak on the dignity and vocation of motherhood during the program from 8-9:30 p.m. Catholic moms from around the archdiocese will gather the third Thursday of every month for fellowship and an opportunity to hear a speaker address a topic relevant to motherhood, especially for moms with young children. For more information see www.archstl.org/laityandfamilylife.

Conferences for Christ

The annual Catholic Women for Christ Conference will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, at the St. Charles Convention Center. Speakers will include Kelly Wahlquist and Maryanne Rice. For information or to register, see www.catholicwomenforchrist.org or call (314) 792-7183.

The annual Catholic Men for Christ Conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Peabody Opera House in Downtown St. Louis. Speakers will include Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice and Father Don Calloway. For information or to register see www.catholicmenforchrist.org.

Economic well-being

Aquinas Institute of Theology has received a $249,700 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.'s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. It is one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding. Personal financial pressures are severely limiting the ability of graduates of schools of theology to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many pastoral leaders. To help address this issue, Lilly Endowment created the initiative to improve the economic well-being of future pastors. Aquinas will use its funding to study the impact of student debt and provide financial counseling and career services to its students. The grant also help support a program of institutional advancement to support the needs of ministerial students. Dominican Father David Caron, president of Aquinas, said the grant will "help bolster Aquinas Institute of Theology's understanding of the larger debt crisis, particularly as it impacts our institute's admissions and retention efforts, assisting our students to thrive, and to graduate those who will be a success in ministry."

Homelessness awareness

On Nov. 22, some 30 people learned more about the causes, issues and complexities of homelessness in the St. Louis region during Room at the Inn's "Homeless for a Night" event, held in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The event, which started with a home-cooked meal for the guests, featured a presentation by Karen Wallensak, executive director of Catholic Charities' Housing Resource Center. The center runs the Homeless Hotline, which screens all the calls coming in from people who are homeless and looking for a shelter in the St. Louis area. She said that in spite of the efforts of all the organizations which help the homeless across St. Louis, the need far surpasses the resources available. Six out of 10 who called the hotline can't get in a shelter. Chris Hotard, night site coordinator for Room at the Inn, said, "Every day, Room at the Inn staff and volunteers work very hard for our clients to have food, shelter and a path toward self-sufficiency."

Watercolors exhibit

An exhibit of watercolors by the late Marianist Brother Mel Meyer continues through Saturday, Jan. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Watercolors by the artist and sculptor who died in October will be on display at the Marianist Galleries, located on the campus of Vianney High School, just north of the intersection of I-44 and Lindbergh Blvd. For more information, see the website at www.melsmart.com, call (314) 965-0877 or e-mail MelArtMarianist@aol.com.

100 Neediest Cases

Five Ursuline Academy students were selected as finalists in the United Way of Greater St. Louis and St. Louis Post-Dispatch's 100 Neediest Cases Art Contest. Four of the works will be published in the Post-Dispatch but all the artwork will be on display Dec. 7 at the Missouri History Museum during the awards presentation. Seniors Emily LaMarche placed third overall and Natalie Abbenhaus placed fourth overall. Sophomores Anna Caleca, Katrina Rebholz and Emily Rosener also were honored.

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