FROM THE EDITOR | Some reflections at the end of the year

Teak Phillips

This time of year, like many people, I reflect on the past 12 months. And every year, I wonder how we did it.

This is our 50th newspaper, the number we crank out every year. We also published seven issues of Catholic St. Louis magazine (a dating switch meant an additional issue to what is otherwise bi-monthly).

At times, the workload and pace appears daunting. But the newspaper business, even in a digital age, is energized by the quirky character found in the people whose stories we tell -- and those who tell their stories.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Jesus is the light in our darkness

Mike Eisenbath

More often than I like, I wake up, glance at the clock radio on my nightstand and see that it's about 2 or 3 in the morning. The bedroom is dark. No, it's darker than dark -- it's black. And that deep darkness overwhelms me.

I stare at the ceiling -- at least where I assume the ceiling is, because I can't actually see it. I vaguely make out the shape of Donna sleeping next to me. The glow of the clock barely illuminates more than a few inches. So really, there is only a hint of light.

FAITH AND CULTURE | Call to faith, service in season and out of season

F. Javier Orozco

For many of us, the fashion industry remains a real mystery to engage and comprehend. Without discrediting the fashion experts in our communities, few of us have delved into the different dimensions and contours of the world of fashion.

Older expressions and distinctions between "high fashion" and "mass fashion" might be foreign to us. Similarly, knowing that the fashion industry is a result of the modern age, and that most of our clothes were homemade or tailor-ordered before modern times might escape us.

GOOD STEWARD | Advent is the season of hope, Mary is the star

Dan Conway

Advent is the season of hope, a time of eager anticipation or longing for Christ. During this blessed season, we have a chance to connect with our deepest desires. Above all else, whether we recognize it, we human beings long to be united with God, the source and summit of our aspirations, the joy of our desiring.

This longing, which we try to hide or suppress most of the year with no great success, bubbles to the surface in Advent. The hymns, prayers and readings evoke our heart's deepest desires like no other time of year.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Light the candles, pour the wine: The Catholic call to celebrate

Christina Capecchi

Grace Osterbauer was a 24-year-old bride-to-be when she took her first cake-decorating class, and the impulse compelling the Texas beauty to make that $35 investment remains today, now that she's a 40-year-old mother of eight.

"I wanted to make the Catholic events of our lives super special," she said.

FAITHFUL FAN | Youth coaches need to stop athletes' sense of entitlement

Joseph Kenny

It's sad when the reports come in about players who are arrested for an array of transgressions ranging from drunk driving to assault. Last year, as an extreme example, New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder.

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