POPE’S MESSAGE | Fasting during Lent includes sharing, treating others kindly

Pope Francis heard confession at his annual Lenten meeting with the pastors of Rome parishes Feb. 15 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The meeting included prayer, confessions and a question-and-answer session with the pope.

VATICAN CITY — Loudly boasting or complaining about fasting during Lent and treating others unkindly isn't what God wants, Pope Francis said.

"Does my fasting end up helping others? If it doesn't, it's fake, it's contradictory and it leads to the path of a double life. I pretend to be Christian — righteous like the Pharisees, the Sadducees — but inside I am not," he said in the homily Feb. 16 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Editorial | Overcome differences with trust, kindness

Along the route of the Pilgrimage of Trust's Walk of Trust on May 28, people came out of their homes and churches to greet one another in expressions of trust and solidarity — gestures that feel uncommon today.

Not far to the west, a 32-foot high stone memorial to the Confederacy dedicated in 1914 inside Forest Park has become a flashpoint of disagreement whether it's a historical marker that shouldn't be moved, or a nod to slavery and an affront to race relations in St. Louis.

No matter the wounds of the past, St. Louis is better than this, as the Pilgrimage of Trust demonstrated.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Make room for kindness, not hopeless ‘mafia’ mentality

Pope Francis embraced a girl at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 5. Before concluding his audience, the pope said he was horrified by a chemical attack in Syria the previous day that left 70 people dead.

VATICAN CITY — Hope can't remain hidden within, but must break free to overcome vengeful, mafia-like mentalities with mercy and humility, Pope Francis said.

Christians must give witness to hope through their lives as Jesus did and make room for Him in their hearts to fight evil by doing good to others, even their enemies, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 5.

Lowe’s aids St. Agnes sacristan by restoring altar

Ken Grant, a resident and a sacristan St. Agnes Apartments, a Cardinal Ritter Senior Services facility in south St. Louis, was looking to replace a worn-out altar. He got an older altar from the archdiocesan Reclamation Office that was restored, thanks to a community service effort at Lowe’s home improvement store.

God must have wanted a newly refurbished altar.

Or so it seems to residents of St. Agnes Apartments, a Cardinal Ritter Senior Services residence in south St. Louis. They enjoyed a series of fortunate events that led to a sorely needed replacement altar.

Ken Grant is one of two sacristans who set up St. Agnes' multipurpose room each Saturday for Mass, but the altar was unstable. In search of a replacement, Grant contacted Deacon Joe Streckfuss of the archdiocesan Reclamation Center, which stores items — such as altars — from closed parishes and other facilities for re-use in the future.

MOMENTS OF GRACE | Story of a grandfather's kindness has impact today

Lou Jobst

In these days of racial tension in our country, we are all searching for some gentility, some sense of true Christianity in our midst. And as I rode in the car with one of my most-treasured friends, Mike Hopkins, on our return from a writing conference at the University of Iowa, he related to me a story which shows that respect -- no, even love -- for members of other races existed in the past and surely can today.

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