Viewpoints

FAITH AND CULTURE | Renewed in the Spirit

For many, cultural celebrations of a new year involve the familiar ritual of reviewing the past in order to prepare and plan for a better future. We identify concrete goals and resolutions that, hopefully, will become real in the coming year. Encouraged by friends, family and colleagues, we move forward with enthusiastic resolve and purpose.

TWENTY SOMETHING | The pursuit of happiness in the new year

Don Currey was a 30-year-old graduate student when he was responsible for cutting down the world's oldest tree.

A geography student at the University of North Carolina, Don wanted to better understand Ice-Age glaciology by examining bristlecone trees. In the summer of 1964, he was in a grove of bristlecones on Wheeler Peak Mountain in Nevada when his tree corer got stuck in a tree.

FAITHFUL FAN | Third-grade tournament, volunteers have a heart

St. Mary Magdalen basketball player MaKiya Sanders (34) contested a rebound by St. Joseph-Manchester player Dana Kerpash (14) at the eigth annual Mary McDermott Third Grade Basketball Tournament at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights Dec. 30. The tournament, a fundraiser for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital’s Cardiac Hybrid Catheterization Suite, honors Mary McDermott who died at 24 in 2008 after suffering cardiac and liver problems throughout her life.

Good job. Nice play," Kate Eichhorn shouted to the players on the third-grade basketball team that includes her daughter, Jillian.

The players from Immacolata Parish and their opponents from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish ran up and down the court, passing and dribbling fairly effectively, considering their age and experience level. Some had an accurate shot from a close distance and others need to grow a bit before they'll have the strength to score. Regardless, they had plenty of smiles to go with their enthusiasm.

BRIMMING WITH HOPE | The best Christmas programs ever

As a school administrator for many years, I have attended a good number of school Christmas programs. I have seen everything from simple songs on risers, to choreographed routines, to elaborate plays. This year, I had the privilege of attending the Christmas programs at Annunziata School, St. Gemma Center, and St. Joan of Arc, three locations for our Catholic special education programs. What I witnessed at each was extremely impressive, even for a veteran audience member.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | ‘Deus caritas est:’ Jesus comes to fill the emptiness of our souls

Inside every human being there abides a longing. A need, an absence designed on purpose by the Creator. Some philosophers refer to it as a vacuum. Rich or poor, master or servant, woman or man, young or old — everyone has it. We yearn for happiness. Some theologians call it a "God-sized hole." We yearn for God. And so we seek.

FAITH AND CULTURE | Attentiveness in Christ

In our busy and frantic culture, it's easy to be distracted and lose focus. We live surrounded by external and internal distractions competing for our limited attention. Whether due to the constant noise of people talking, phone ringing, TV chatter or the inner disruptions caused by stress, worries and mental obsessions, it's hard to stay centered and single-minded. And for many, access to social media has only made things worse — we now jump from one thing to the next with ease and speed.

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