st. charles lwanga center

Lwanga Center and honoree Brenda Vanderford foster a ‘sense of belonging’


Brenda Vanderford was there at the very beginning, in 1983, when the St. Charles Lwanga Center was merely an idea verbalized by Father Edward Feuerbacher, the pastor at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish on North Kingshighway.

Father Feuerbacher brought it up at a monthly parish council meeting.

'Beacons of hope' perform the work of the Lord

The St. Charles Lwanga Center honored Brenda Mahr for her work with the Employment Connection, a nonprofit agency that finds work for ex-offenders and assists individuals with limited opportunities become self-sufficient. She spoke to students learning how to write a resume.

In the invocation at the 32nd annual St. Charles Lwanga Center Testimonial Dinner, archdiocesan chancellor Nancy Werner hit the nail on the proverbial head.

The St. Louis area "more than ever needs beacons of hope," she said, simply, in reference to violence last year in Ferguson and tension which persists almost eight months later.

Those beacons would be evident on this day, she said.

Transformation happening at St. Charles Lwanga Center

Daija Loggins credits her future to her association with the St. Charles Lwanga center where she began to learn about herself as a black Catholic. Her journey through the Kujenga (meaning “build” in Swahili) program provided leadership development which she, now as a young adult, is helping to pass along as a mentor in the program. Loggins is studying early elementary education at Missouri Baptist University and studied on the campus in St. Louis.

In the 1990's sitcom Seinfeld, Elaine warns an employee that her friend George is a "bad seed."

"A horrible seed," she says. "One of the worst seeds I've ever seen."

Ultimately, she takes it back, describing him as a "fine seed."

Father Art Cavitt might use that term to describe Daniel Crawford, a 21-year-old from Florissant who has transformed himself into a good seed at St. Charles Lwanga Center.

Lwanga honoree cites faith as key in early role in public service

Michael McMillan, far right, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, presented a scholarship to Bishop DuBourg student Madeline Broekelmann, third from right. Pictured with her, from left, are school president Father Michael Lydon, Madeline’s parents, Mike and Janice Broekelmann, and principal Bridget Timoney. McMillan also spoke to students about how his time as a student at Bishop DuBourg prepared him for a career in public service.

Michael McMillan credits his Catholic faith as a major influence in his desire as a young man to become involved in public service.

McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, will be among this year's Torch Bearer honorees at the St. Charles Lwanga Center's 31st annual testimonial dinner March 30.

Diversity, commonality in religious roots affect positive change

I was raised in a spiritually ecumenical environment. I was baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant and catechized in Catholic schools. At an early age, I identified with the passionate praying, preaching and singing at church services with family and friends who were of different denominations. My exposure to various denominations has served me well in my role as priest. Recently, I have been invited to an array of ecumenical liturgical events in the St. Louis area. Among the highlights were when, with the endorsement of Archbishop Robert J.

Teens discover theme of "I am" at Kujenga summer leadership conference

Elder Richard Buckley installed Daija Loggins and Michael Hart-Russell as family leaders at the Kujenga XII Youth Conference. Held July 19-21 on the campus of Fontbonne University, the conference drew 70 teens, young adults and adult leaders and was sponsored by the St. Charles Lwanga Center.

Teens who attended the Kujenga Catholic Youth Leadership Conference last month drew on their talents and gifts to discover God's purpose for their lives.

Sponsored by the St. Charles Lwanga Center, Kujenga is a three-day event primarily for African-American high-school students and recent graduates. The Lwanga Center is an archdiocesan agency that provides spiritual and leadership development for the local Catholic African-American community and beyond.

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