DEAR FATHER | Act of Contrition gets to the heart of confession

Is confession valid if the priest doesn't hear your Act of Contrition? 

We might remember being told as we grew up that we need to apologize to someone for something we did. Out of personal pride or perhaps anger at what they did to us, our apology was halfhearted at best. We said we were sorry, but in our heart we really weren't, and the way we said our apology most likely reflected our state of mind and heart.

Jury rules in favor of Fr. Jiang and archdiocese

A jury in Lincoln County took little time April 6 to find in favor of both Father Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang and the Archdiocese of St. Louis in a civil lawsuit that alleged the priest had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl in 2012. In the trial, the plaintiff sought more than $1 million in compensatory damages. The jury began deliberations just past 1 p.m. and returned the verdict just before 3 p.m.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Laity is called to study and exercise the ‘baptismal priesthood’

A new president will be inaugurated Friday, Jan. 20. What spiritual preparations are you making?

We might want to forget how contentious the race for the presidency was, or about the unsettled response to the result. But, as people of faith, we shouldn't forget.

Instead, we should pivot on those things and ask: what contribution will we make over the next four years to the well-being of the country? If the next four years were to be measured by our actions and attitudes, how would they be remembered? Answering those questions requires some spiritual preparation.

DEAR FATHER | Infant of Prague symbolizes priest and king nature of Christ

Devotion to the Infant King of Heaven and Earth is a beautiful, Scripture-based devotion. Origins of such a devotion can be found in Isaiah's prophecy of a new shoot coming forth from the stump of David's father, Jesse. The Spirit of the Lord, it is prophesied, will come to rest upon this new ruler (Isaiah 11:1-2). This prophecy comes true in Jesus, whom the Angels declare to the shepherds on the night of His birth as Messiah and Lord (Luke 2:11).

Hearing God’s call … on multiple digital platforms

Pre-Theology I student Jake Braun posed recently at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary while checking Twitter.

Between classes at Missouri University of Science and Technology, junior Jake Braun killed time by "absent-mindedly scrolling through" Twitter at his apartment in Rolla.

A tweet by Father Brian Fallon, the archdiocese's assistant vocations director, stopped him cold.

"Yo St. Louis! If you think God's calling you to be a priest/sister, DM me! #subtle @stlvocations"

Braun, now 23, had indeed been thinking about the priesthood, more so in the previous year but going back to when he started serving Mass at about 7 or 8 years old, he said last month at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Comfort the shipwrecked: Titanic priest a model of mercy

Christina Capecchi

Father Thomas Byles was 42 when he boarded the Titanic with his second-class ticket and portable altar stone. He had made arrangements with Captain Edward Smith to secure space on the ocean liner to celebrate Mass. Even on vacation a priest is never off duty, but the Catholic convert would have it no other way.

He saw his faith as "a wonderfully great gift," he once wrote to his brother, William, "a truly marvelous and altogether supernatural support..."

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