WASHINGTON (CNS) — University of Notre Dame officials were standing firm on their choice of President Barack Obama as commencement speaker at the institution’s May 17 graduation, in spite of a large number of Catholics calling on them to rescind the invitation.
The Indiana university, run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the White House announced March 20 that Obama would be Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement speaker and confirmed he will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the graduation.
"The invitation to President Obama to be our commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem-cell research," said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame.
St. Louis University's Students for Life organization has announced the naming of the Virginia D. Murphy Endowment for Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance.
The announcement was made last month at a talk given by Alveda King, daughter of the late civil rights activist A.D. King and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The endowment, established last fall, will provide resources for SLU students who face the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy and parenting, so they can stay on the path toward earning a degree. Funding will help students cover the costs of tuition, housing, prenatal care,child-care and other areas. The endowment is named after the late Virginia Murphy, a SLU alum and longtime advocate for the defense of the unborn. She was a member of St. Pius V Parish in South St. Louis.
The annual conference of the St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Association will be held Friday and Saturday, April 3 and 4, at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury.
The conference is designed to introduce Catholic families to the opportunities for homeschooling at all levels. The event includes speakers, workshops, a vendor fair and Mass.
Friday events will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and will include a pizza social for high school students and a panel discussion by homeschool graduates on "Life After Homeschool." Father Christopher Martin, associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville, will speak on "Who Will I Be When I Grow Up? Developing Character and Virtues Needed for Any Vocation."
Chaminade won its first state basketball title, Borgia won its fifth basketball championship and Christian Brothers College High School took its 11th hockey title.
St. Louis University High School won its 11th state championship and fourth national championship in racquetball. Cor Jesu Academy won its first national championship in racquetball, and Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory’s girls basketball team won its championship. Several other Catholic schools also had good showings in the winter sports season.
Basketball — Chaminade won the Class 5 Boys Basketball Championship with an 80-70 win over Grandview March 14 after a thrilling 66-65 win the day before over Columbia Rock Bridge.
In the title game, Chaminade was up by just one point at halftime, down by a point after the third quarter and pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, outscoring Grandview 27-16 in the quarter. Chaminade was led by Bradley Beal with 30 points and eight rebounds, while Brandon Lockhart added 21 points and Brandon Hannah added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Being offered the job as head volleyball coach at St. Louis University was "a huge opportunity" in part because of the excellent programs in St. Louis, said Anne Kordes, whose SLU team has risen to rank among the best in the nation.
"The level of play in St. Louis and around St. Louis is outstanding," Kordes said. "I thought St. Louis would be a good fit. Theres a strong connection with volleyball at the Catholic schools. No doubt, half of our team is from Catholic schools. And if you look around, there are strong programs at public schools around St. Louis as well."
Other large Midwest cities also have strong volleyball programs in Catholic high schools, Kordes noted.
She said it has been easy to recruit students to St. Louis University. "We get these kids on this beautiful campus and tell them what the education is worth and explain to them theyll have great coaching and an opportunity to win the conference. Its just snowballed from there."
The Catholic Youth Apostolates CYC leagues provide a foundation, giving children the opportunity to play in the third grade, with some parishes offering instructional play as early as kindergarten. Kordes is in contact with coaches who want to bring their players to SLU practices, games or clinics.