Parish 'safe space': a place to decipher protests

St. Louis University students Laura Downing and Nebu Kolenchy talked in the parish center at St. Francis Xavier (College Church) Parish on the SLU campus, where the volunteers were staffing a “safe space” where students and others stopped in to discuss the issues surrounding protests and turmoil in St. Louis following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson.

A student came to the "safe space" at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on the St. Louis University campus and asked to volunteer. People had gathered here during the turmoil following the announcement that a grand jury did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The sanctuary already had enough help, but the student decided to stay and talk.

EDITORIAL | Humble hearts at Advent

Advent wreath

At a recent Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis said that God will reveal Himself to those who have humble and meek hearts.

"Only those who have a heart like a child are capable of receiving this revelation, those who have a humble, meek heart, who feel the need to pray, to open themselves to God, who feel poor; only those who live according to the first Beatitude -- the poor in spirit," the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

Ferguson business owner 'overwhelmed by love, kindness, service'

Eugene Gillis plays his trumpet in front of the burned-out shell of Juantia's Fashions R Boutique on Nov. 28 along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson. After the violence of Nov. 2, Gillis wanted to brighten the mood and engage onlookers in positive conversation.

Plywood covered the broken front windows of her restaurant, the back door served as the main entrance, and no diners appeared on this afternoon.

Yet, Maria Flores counted her blessings.

"God was watching over us," Flores said, standing in the intact dining area at El Palenque restaurant about a block from the Ferguson Police Department.

Shaw neighborhood keeps watchful eye on activities

After the grand jury's announcement Nov. 24 not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, members of the Shaw neighborhood were prepared to respond to any potential unrest in the area.

Shaw is the neighborhood where Vonderrit Myers Jr. was shot and killed Oct. 8 by a St. Louis police officer working a secondary job. The shooting, which happened just a few months after the August shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, sparked unrest in the area.

GUEST COLUMNIST | 'Our Lady Undoer of Knots, help me'

For more than three months, since Michael Brown died, the St. Louis region has been filled with fear and anger, and sometimes violence.

Many say that peaceful protests are called for. Some say protests give thugs cover to loot and burn and costs the area jobs and income. Some say the police shoot first and ask questions later. One friend, a policeman's daughter, says calmly that no policeman she has ever known got up in the morning and said, "I'm going to kill someone today."

Archbishop Carlson provides a pastoral presence in Ferguson

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | Twitter: @aeternusphoto Archbishop Robert J. Carlson visited with the St. Louis City police Central Patrol Division on Nov. 24 to meet and pray with them before the announcement of the St. Louis County Grand Jury decision whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

At 8:26 p.m. Nov. 24, the word came down.

No indictment for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

News of the St. Louis County grand jury's "no true bill" spread quickly throughout the world. Twitter was ablaze in the figurative sense, and Ferguson soon joined it in the literal sense. Vandals rioted, looted and burned multiple businesses.

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