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Catholic St. Louis feature stories.

WITNESSES TO FREEDOM | U.S. bishops continue efforts to raise awareness of religious liberty

Four years ago when the Archdiocese of St. Louis launched a campaign for religious liberty, Archbishop Robert Carlson called it a great opportunity for Catholics to "build enthusiasm for this important cause."

"Religious liberty is our first, most cherished freedom," he said. "The threat the HHS mandate poses to the Catholic Church is no small matter. It is imperative that we act now to protect the freedoms upon which this country is based."

The miracle of the real presence in the Eucharist

The corporal attributed to a 13th-century eucharistic miracle is on display in the Chapel of the Corporal at the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, not far from Bolsena, where the miracle occurred.


The feast of Corpus Christi is one way in which Catholics celebrate the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The celebration of the feast dates back centuries and is pegged to two major events, said Msgr. Michael Witt, professor of Church history at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

The first hospital in St. Louis? It was Catholic.

The Daughters of Charity established the first hospital in St. Louis, and this facility at Fourth and Spruce streets was their second hospital building. The first was a 3-room log cabin a block away.

Being the first of anything can be difficult. Like opening the first hospital west of the Mississippi -- really, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Hot cross buns remind us of Jesus as the Bread of life

Father Francis Hein, O.S.B. from the Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis, developed his own recipe for hot cross buns.

The pagans were among the first to make them. Queen Elizabeth I banned them. The British love them with tea. For centuries, hot cross buns have been a longstanding Lenten tradition. These densely toasted buns, loaded with dried fruit, spices and topped with a sweet trace of icing, have an important religious significance, according to Benedictine Father Francis Hein of St. Louis Abbey.

"They remind us that this is the bread of life that comes to us through the cross. And the icing signifies that we're rewarded with the sweetness of everlasting life."

10 things most people don’t know about Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY -- When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran walked onto the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, telling the crowds in Latin: "I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!" not many people recognized the name of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Now, just one year since his March 13, 2013, election, there are still many things most people do not know about the 265th successor of Peter.

Here is a list of 10 things people should know about Pope Francis. He:


Pope Francis has created a new buzz about the Church with his common-man style and humble pastoral approach.

VATICAN CITY -- As leader of the universal Church, a pope must direct his ministry in both of the ways traditionally described by the Latin terms "ad intra" and "ad extra": inwardly to the Church itself, and outwardly to the rest of the world.

Pope Francis has accordingly spent the first year of his pontificate pursuing two ambitious projects: revitalizing the Church's efforts at evangelization and reforming the Church's central administration.

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