FAITH AND CULTURE | A new year of mindfulness

Every season brings unique challenges and opportunities. As humans preoccupied with many things, it's useful to calendar significant social events, historical moments and a variety of other spiritual and religious movements that are part of faith lives. The rhythm of our experiences has us moving physically, as well as in constant spiritual and psychological motion, seeking answers to our deepest questions and anticipating the future.

TWENTY SOMETHING | On cracked knuckles & self-care: A resolution for 2018

The themes emerge predictably. When it comes to New Year's resolutions, we gravitate toward the biggies: get healthy, get organized, get a life. We vow to travel more, read more, save more and volunteer more. We conjure visions of the expansive, to live life to the fullest.

Scan Twitter and you'll find a multitude of plans.

"In 2018, I will skydive. No exceptions."

"Put myself out there. Don't be afraid of making a mistake."

"No more plastic bags!!"

"I'd like my life to be as on point as my eyebrows in 2018."

"I resolve to use my cookbooks more often!"

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Happiness and joy of loving God spills over into our everyday lives

About five years ago, my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church along with our children. It was one of the happiest days of my life and is a moment that people are often curious to hear about. More precisely, they're curious about what exactly happened in the years before to lead us there. I'd love to be able to give a brilliant, intellectual explanation of my thought-process and how I'm super courageous and smart, but instead I tend to furrow my brow and stammer, "It's a long story. It's, uh, hard to explain."

FAITHFUL FAN | St. Dominic High grads star for Quincy University soccer team

The women's soccer team at Quincy University went 13-1 in conference play this past fall, with a 17-4-1 overall record — the second-most wins in the program's history.

The Hawks won their first game in the NCAA tournament against Bellarmine University before losing 3-1 to Grand Valley State University. Nevertheless, the team from the Catholic university in Illinois finished the season ranked 11th in the final National Poll United Soccer Coaches Association Poll.

THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | The crèche and the gap

For the past decade or so, I've been assembling a mid-sized Judean village of Fontanini crèche figures, including artisans, herders, farmers, vintners, blacksmiths, musicians, weavers and a fisherman or two. It's a reminder that the Lord Jesus was born in the midst of humanity and its messy history: the history that the child has come to set back on its truest course, which is toward God.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Growing as effective witnesses to Jesus Christ

A phrase I hear too often is "I don't feel comfortable evangelizing."

This expresses a significant challenge in the world today: excessive desire for comfort and convenience. Christianity often is not comfortable. A relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church can be difficult. Being Christian means being willing to practice fasting and mortification, and proclaiming the news of salvation through words and actions — whether we feel like it or not. The cross is the most perfect sign of the Christian life because it shows us how we will rise. There is no running from the cross.

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