On an NBC news special covering the tornado that hit an Oklahoma City suburb May 20, a teacher at a public elementary school that took a direct hit explained how she gathered students in as safe a place as possible -- a bathroom stall -- and tried to calm their fears.
Then, she told the reporter, "I did the teacher thing we're probably not supposed to do -- I prayed, and I prayed out loud."
The two surgical rooms resembled what a federal drug enforcement agent called a "bad gas station restroom." The remains of 45 babies were found in bags, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons and even in cat-food containers.
This "house of horrors" as it has been called, was Dr. Kermit Gosnell's Women's Medical Society, representative of what several pro-life leaders told Catholic News Service are all too common conditions. The investigators looking into illegal drug use found blood on the floor, a stench of urine, a flea-infested cat wandering about and cat feces on the stairs.
The caps and gowns have been sized. The announcements are in the mail, and the parties are being planned. The anticipation of graduation is around us. Seeing the excitement of young people as they prepare to embark on a new career or a new pathway of learning stirs up feelings of pride and joy, especially from parents and relatives.
Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through the media is not always easy.
But with help from the people of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the word is getting out about the good works and stories of Catholics in the archdiocese and throughout the country. Communications strategies are supporting the Year of Faith, the Campaign for Religious Liberty, the Annual Catholic Appeal and evangelization, among other efforts.
Many challenges face the Church today, and one could make a strong argument that they are rooted in communication.
When Jesus told His disciples to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations ..." (Matthew 28:19), He was commissioning them to proclaim the Good News boldly and clearly. We are called to continue that mission today.
But with so much noise, so many sources of information -- not all credible -- and so much tension in the voices of pop culture, the Good News too often goes unheard.
Spiritual stamina. Spiritual warfare. These words are being conjured up during this watershed moment in American history. Consider what we're facing right now: the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court consideration of same-sex marriage and the federal government's mandate to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs in virtually all health care plans.
It's frustrating, it's confusing, and for people of faith, these decisions are heart-wrenching.