When ashes are placed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross, it's a reminder of several things.
It's a call to repentance: a physical sign that we're sinners in need of forgiveness, which is how the prophets used it in the Old Testament. It also reminds us that God created us from the earth and when we die, we will return to it.
In April, at the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Gala benefiting the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan offered an anecdote that sums up the importance and value of Catholic education beyond just the Catholic community.
Six years ago, a gentleman who described himself to Cardinal Dolan as "a Jewish atheist" visited the new leader for the Archdiocese of New York and wrote him a substantial check to help fund Catholic education. This became an annual occurrence. After a few years, Cardinal Dolan asked why the man does this.
We no longer airmail the material to Denver to be printed and mailed to subscribers, as was the practice 75 years ago when the Review began life as the St. Louis Register. Instead, the pages are sent electronically to the Missourian Publishing Co. in Washington and mailed from St. Louis. Stories and photos are also available at www.stlouisreview.com, along with videos and other multimedia pieces.
It's likely no one back in 1941 would have predicted that concept.
There are two important points to consider when responding to disasters: Think long term and take part in a coordinated response.
It's human nature to rush out and collect items such as clothing and cleaning supplies. But unless you check with the recipients, such as a church or organization that will be distributing the items, it's an effort that may not be needed.
Catholic Charities began its Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Lives program in the wake of the tornado that tore through Joplin in 2011 and has worked with thousands of volunteers to repair and rebuild the homes of survivors, both in the Joplin area and southern Missouri.