Much has changed in the 40 years since the calendar clicked over to 1977.
Numerous things have gone by the wayside, including — thankfully — bell-bottoms, disco and gas-guzzling vehicles. Secularly, we're on our seventh president and, in the Catholic world, our fifth pope and our fifth archbishop of St. Louis.
We've also experienced a drop in vocations to the clergy and to consecrated life, with Catholic education transitioning to the laity as a result. But thankfully, we've seen a great increase in the diaconate in the archdiocese, men firmly committed to serving the Church.
Four weeks of Advent are followed by Christmas Day and the beginning of the true Christmas season.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has written that "people go from celebration to celebration — Christmas to the Super Bowl to Valentine's Day to March Madness to Easter to baseball season. There's a lot to celebrate, but something about it seems frantic — and frantic isn't a fruit of God's presence. Preparations begin so early, but when the anticipated event arrives it never satisfies for very long — and shallow satisfaction isn't a fruit of God's presence."
Fathers matter, and moms, too. That's undeniable, of course, but giving them support and making it a matter of public policy isn't always a priority. Luckily, a few efforts in our community are making a difference, and they deserve further support.
A rash of synthetic drug overdoeses among St. Louis' homeless population has prompted the question of how to help those in need, and in particular, addressing the issue of panhandling, as reported in this issue of the St. Louis Review.
As we prepare for the birth of Christ, we're mindful of the plight of the Holy Family. The Scriptures share how Joseph and Mary, who was about to give birth, were without shelter. The Son of God came into this world homeless.