Local News

Joy marks Comboni priest’s 50,000 miles on a bike in Africa

Comboni Missionary Father David Baltz, right, uses his bicycle trips to far-away chapels in his parish in Uganda as an opportunity to evangelize. He stresses Catholic values in his missionary work.

A gun pointed at his head by soldiers. Three years spent in a refugee camp, living in a grass-roof hut and serving 100,000 people in 54 impromptu chapels. Facing down a snake in a grass hut. Covering a parish of 50,000 Catholics and 60 chapels and 27 primary schools.

Father David Baltz has faced many challenges, but he doesn't consider transportation one of them. His bike is reliable.

‘Beyond Sunday’ campaign already pays benefits

Autumn Zoellner, right, a student at St. Vincent de Paul High School in Perryville, is a recipient of a Beyond Sunday scholarship. She also works at a local retirement center in hope of becoming a physician.

Catholic education runs in Beth Zoellner's family, so it's no surprise that Beth and husband Jason's three children — Autumn, Tyler and Reese — are in St. Vincent de Paul School in Perryville.

As of May 27, Autumn, 16, is a rising junior in the high school, with Tyler, 12, entering seventh grade and Reese, 9, fourth.

Beth Zoellner graduated high school from St. Vincent de Paul in 1997, and her mom and dad, Dianne and Larry Brown, graduated in 1969. Beth's grandmother Rosettia Bohnert only went to school through eighth grade but it was in a Catholic school.

Humor, holiness make Bishop Rice approachable to men discerning priesthood

Bishop Edward M. Rice held the Archbishop’s Cup, a trophy filled with candy that is presented to the winner of the Water Olympics, at Kenrick-Glennon Days, an annual camp at the seminary to introduce young men to priests and seminarians. As Bishop Rice begins his new role as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, seminarians and priests reflected on the impact he had on their vocation stories.

On occasion when Father Jim Theby gets a call from Bishop Edward M. Rice, the bishop will start the conversation something like this:

"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were in the chapel praying..."

Of course, his opening is meant in jest, but somehow Bishop Rice still drives home a message of the importance of prayer.

That balance of humor and holiness is what has made Bishop Rice so approachable over the years, said Father Theby, a longtime friend of the bishop's.

Seminarians look to Bishop Rice’s example in serving the poor

In 2010, then-Msgr. Edward Rice prayed with the seminarians who accompanied him to the soup kitchen at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. As part of their apostolic services, the seminarians help the parish in their mission feed homeless men, women and children at their “Meals for the Hungry” program.

Bishop Edward Rice has learned one major lesson from serving the poor: cooking is not his forte.

Twenty-five years ago, as a teacher St. Mary's High School, Father Rice started a tradition of taking his students on the 19th of the month to serve meals to the homeless. "They gave us this huge pot, and we had Hamburger Helper," he recalled. "We burned it — the poor wouldn't eat it. It was a disaster." Some of the students' mothers came the next month to help with the cooking; the guys served the meal, visited with those they were serving and helped with clean-up.

Busy bishop is used to running here and there — literally

Bishop Edward M. Rice ran with seminarians Andrew Auer, Jacob Brock and Michael Horn outside Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in 2013. The bishop and seminarians competed in the GoStLouis Marathon.

Though his vocation as a priest in parishes and administration often have kept Bishop Edward M. Rice busy night and day, he always makes time for an avocation — running.

"I like the down time. I don't take my phone with me," said Bishop Rice, an avid runner since he was on the cross-country team at St. Mary's High School in south St. Louis. He stated in an interview a couple years ago that running also helps him in his work. "It keeps me focused and helps me to pray. I'm more settled in my prayer when I run."

Two men to be ordained to the priesthood for the archdiocese

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will ordain two men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

All are invited to attend the Ordination Mass, which also will be live streamed online at archstl.org/ordination.

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