FAITH AND CULTURE | Being the presence of Christ to others

Javier Orozco

One of the most salient and defining characteristics of American culture is a pragmatic approach to reality. As Americans, we value our freedom to be practical in both public affairs and personal life and choices.

Much of our entrepreneurial spirit finds a home in this convenient and sensible approach. In the public, professional work environment, for example, we measure our success and effectiveness in concrete terms: We like goals to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

THE GOOD STEWARD | October is Mary's month, a time to reverence and respect life

Dan Conway

In the month of October, we celebrate Respect Life Month. We also honor in a special way the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was obedient to God's will and chose life above all else.

FAITHFUL FAN | Grawer typifies humble Missouri Hall of Fame selections

Joseph Kenny

The coach whose basketball teams set records at De Smet Jesuit High School and St. Louis University is in awe of those who have gone before him.

"As a youth growing up in St. Louis, my heroes were (Stan) Musial and (Red) Schoendienst in baseball and Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan in basketball. I never did get to meet them, but at least I'll be in the same building with them now in Springfield," Rich Grawer said at a press conference Oct. 2 at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Self-reflection in the age of selfies

Christina Capecchi

Lena Dunham isn't done confessing. That's the headline of the New York Times Magazine profile just published about the actress-turned-memoirist, and it couldn't be more apt.

Though I've never seen an episode of her highly-rated, super-raunchy, nudity-filled HBO show "Girls," I consider Lena something of a cultural case study, given how often she's touted as the voice of my generation. That voice has never shied away from revelation, however unflattering or immoral.

CATHOLIC BY GRACE | Life is full of times to show our fidelity to God

Denise Bossert

Being Catholic has its challenges.

When I was an evangelical Protestant, I knew that I loved Jesus. If He showed up, I would have hit my knees. If He had visited a neighbor's house or stopped by my local church, I would have dropped everything to be with Him. If He wanted me to tarry an hour with Him, I wouldn't have fallen asleep -- like the disciples did.

I knew that I loved Jesus. And I would show Him just how much I loved Him when I was finally with Him in heaven.

THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | Wanted: A synod of affirmation

George Weigel

Pope Francis has called a special session of the Synod of Bishops, which will meet Oct. 5-19 and prepare the agenda for the ordinary session of the synod that is scheduled for the fall of 2015; both sessions will focus on the family. In my view, the synod should focus on two related themes: marriage culture is in crisis throughout the world; the answer to that crisis is the Christian view of marriage as a covenant between man and woman in a communion of love, fidelity and fruitfulness.

To focus the conversation elsewhere is to ignore a hard fact and a great opportunity.

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