Living Our Faith

The Living Our Faith section highlights Catholics and Catholic organizations who are living the Catholic faith in their daily lives through their prayer, works, and generous service to the community.

Old Cathedral restoration nears completion

Members and visitors to the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) celebrated Christmas in style this year -- with eye-popping renovations that are nearing completion.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church filled with song, music on Dec. 12 feast

Las Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe were celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson. The celebration began at midnight on Dec. 12 with prayer, adoration, the Rosary and song. Cousins Ashley Rosas, 3, and Christopher Salas, 2, wore traditional costumes for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

At about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 12, just a few hearty souls in the St. Louis area were stirring.

Groggily, they turned on coffee pots, let out dogs or switched on local TV news, whatever to start preparing for the day's activities. Most others remained cozy under warm blankets, snoozing and dreaming in their final hours of sleep.

But the crowd at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church definitely was awake, wide awake -- no mistaking that. In fact, even though many had been at it for more than four-and-a-half hours, they were just getting started.

Help Portrait creates lasting memories for those in need

Pam Glass clutched two picture frames as she kept an eye on the little boys running around the gymnasium. As she glanced down at a photo of two of her grandsons, she smiled.

"They never get their pictures taken," Glass said. "They got their smiles on -- I'm so happy."

Glass brought four of her grandchildren last weekend to Garfield Commons at Peter and Paul Community Services for the annual Help Portrait photo session. The photos were an early Christmas gift for herself, she said.

Peter and Paul Community Services debuts safe haven for chronically homeless

Longtime friends Curesa Atkins, left, and Audrey Brown now live across the hallway from each other at Garfield Place Apartments, Peter and Paul Community Services’ new safe haven for chronically homeless individuals in the Benton Park West neighborhood of St. Louis.

This year, Curesa Atkins is going to have one of the best Christmases she's experienced in a long time.

In October, Atkins moved into Garfield Place Apartments, Peter and Paul Community Services' safe haven for chronically homeless individuals, that opened this fall. In the past few weeks, she's been busy decorating her place for Christmas. In the corner, a tree is adorned with silver and red tinsel, and a few gifts are underneath the tree, waiting for their recipients. Her table is set with gleaming holiday china and matching placemats.

Addressing the scars of prison life

After the group meeting, many of the women find it hard to part company and spend time chatting together outside the St. Vincent de Paul Parish Hall.  Dellissa Williams, Eartha Wyatt, Molly Price and Cynthia Stevenson-Johnson relived stories of their youth together.  

Let’s Start program for people affected by women's incarceration is run out the St. Vincent dePaul Parish in south St. Louis. The program is a process dedicated to assisting women in transition from prison life to society. It is unique in that it is coordinated by women who themselves have been through the criminal justice system. The program also reaches out to families and children whose lives have been affected by having a mother in jail.
Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | Twitter: @aeternusphoto  Patty Berger started using drugs when she was 13 years old and was imprisoned fourteen times before she was able to quit her addictions and begin a new way of living.  She lost many years of being able to raise her own children but now has decorated her apartment to their photographs and photographs of her four grandchildren. Berger is a part of the Let’s Start program run out the the St. Vincent dePaul Parish in south St. Louis.  The program is a process dedicated to assisting women in transition from prison life to society. It is unique in that it is coordinated by women who themselves have been through the criminal justice system.

Cynthia Stevenson-Johnson started using drugs at age 16, with heroin as her drug of choice. She often paid for the drugs by shoplifting.
In 1994, at age 45, she went to prison for shoplifting. By then her lifestyle and poor parenting skills had resulted in her children getting into trouble, with one going to jail at age 16 for stealing a car and another joining a gang.

Police officer leans on Catholic faith during Ferguson crisis

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org  | Twitter: @aeternusphoto Sgt. John Wall stood outside of the St. Louis County Police Department in Clayton.

Among the iconic images of the 9/11 tragedy, photographs of policemen and firefighters stand out: The first-responders were entering the doomed World Trade Center as most everyone else was filing out.

They embraced the danger of the moment, most going to their ultimate deaths, because the job requires it. First-responders sign up for this risk; they accept it as part of their service.

Understanding this characteristic is important; they willingly head toward danger, while most others flee.

Syndicate content