It's not a new concept, or a newly created term such as "selfie," the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013. A "selfie" is a term Oxford describes as a photograph taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
The declaration of the Word of the Year was a big sensation, covered extensively on NBC, PBS Newshour, the Guardian of London, Fox News, USA Today, the New York Times and many more media outlets
Several weeks ago, we wrote a story about St. Raphael School in south St. Louis and its decision to have students attend daily Mass as a required part of the school day. We took our story to Facebook and asked for readers' feedback: What do you think about the idea of our Catholic schools offering daily Mass? Here are the responses we received.
Sister Jeanne Meurer remembers the time she approached a fairly well-to-do parish to talk about domestic violence. The Franciscan Sister of Mary, one of two co-founders of Woman's Place, a drop-in center for victims of domestic abuse, felt it was an issue that needed to be spoken about more often.
The parish leadership declined the offer, saying that no one there seemed to be affected by the issue. It was a disappointment to Sister Jeanne, but not surprising.
It is an inspiration to see our Catholic schools embracing their Catholic identity. One such example is St. Raphael School in south St. Louis, which this year decided to implement daily attendance at Mass as a required part of the school day.
Sacrifices needed to be made in order to pull this off. An extra 20 minutes was added to the school day in order to keep academic time uninterrupted. Teachers have incorporated messages from each day's Scripture readings into the children's lessons. The change required the support of the entire school community.
Visiting with a longtime member of a religious community can bring many rewards. Their smiles and laughter are contagious. Their wisdom, attitude toward service and experiences are inspirational.
As Archbishop Robert J. Carlson wrote in his letter on the Nov. 2 and 3 collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious, "through hard work, prayer and sacrifice, they built Catholic schools and hospitals, initiated programs to promote social justice and ministered to the neediest among us."
Before Florida inmate William Frederick Happ was executed Oct. 15, Florida's Catholic bishops asked for his sentence to be commuted, stating that the Church views all individuals, even those who have caused great harm, as possessing a human dignity that is sacred and instilled in us by God.
Happ had kidnapped, raped and murdered a 21-year-old woman, Angela Crowley. He confessed to it just before his execution and asked for forgiveness.