Youths raise a frosty mug to John Paul II at Roman pub

People socialize in the GP2 bar in Rome April 7. The bar honors Giovanni Paolo II, or Pope John Paul II, and seeks to provide a place for Catholic youth to gather in a safe environment, enjoy a beer or coffee and share in the joys of being Christian. The Italian words on the counter say “Give me to drink,” a scriptural reference to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well.

ROME — Young Catholics sip beer and kick back in the crypt beneath the Basilica of St. Charles, home to the GP2 bar and youth club in downtown Rome.

The pub, sponsored by the Rome diocesan office of youth ministry and Catholic Action's youth section, is dedicated to the late Pope John Paul II — Giovanni Paolo II in Italian.

Aside from panini, coffee, beer and wine, the club dished out some special events to celebrate Pope John Paul's life and beatification, scheduled for May 1.

Fine Arts Night March 31 

The Federation of Catholic Schools in the Northeast St. Louis County Deanery will hold its first Fine Arts Night from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Trinity Catholic High School, 1720 Redman Road in Spanish Lake.

Artwork will be on display from students in the eight federation schools -- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Christ Light of the Nations, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart (Florissant), St. Angela Merici, St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne -- and students will perform musical entertainment.

Marian Middle School shepherds adolescent girls

Sister Sarah Heger, CSJ, a fifth-grade teacher at Marian Middle School in South St. Louis, helped Essence Thompson and De’ja Fuchs with their reading skills during a class session known as “drop everything and read” Feb. 15.

By providing a quality education, Marian Middle School is helping to stabilize the lives of urban adolescent girls and to shepherd them on through high school and college.

It's not an easy task, considering that students pay $400 annual tuition, and the cost of educating each of them is about $12,000 per academic year. In addition, the Catholic school for fifth- through eight-graders in South St. Louis has a goal of funding 50 percent of the high school tuition costs of its graduates.

Chastity: Living a virtue with real freedom

Chastity illustration

Practicing the virtue of chastity opens a person to real freedom. But don't expect to hear that in popular culture, according to a Catholic educator in the archdiocese.

For the past six years, Gretchen Pacheco has served as a chastity educator for the REAP Team, the archdiocese's youth retreat ministry. During the 2009-10 school year, the REAP Team reached more than 12,000 young people through 177 retreats. Since the ministry's inception 21 years ago, it has presented 2,881 events, reaching almost 200,000 individuals.

Kennedy, Barat Academy teams play hard for 10th win of season

Megan Duisen, left, of John F. Kennedy Catholic High School battled Barat Academy’s Allison Ingrim during a girls’ basketball game between the Celts and the Eagles at Kennedy Feb. 4. Kennedy topped Barat Academy 49-20.

Two girls' basketball teams competing hard this year battled Feb. 4 to see who would be the first to reach 10 wins on the season.

John F. Kennedy High School in Manchester came out on top in a home game, 49-20, vs. Barat Academy in Dardenne Prairie. The game was featured in a sports segment on KSDK Channel 5, with Kennedy getting the "Best Fans" nod for the week from the TV station.

Paige Stewart, a senior guard for Kennedy, led her team with 16 points, and Megan Duisen added 11.

Crossroads young adult gatherings fill a gap by combining fun, faith

Father Christopher Martin, associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville, spoke on “Church in the Media” at Culpeppers restaurant in O’Fallon Jan. 4. The event was sponsored by Crossroads Young Adult Ministry for Catholics who are college age to 30-somethings.

Enlightening is how Eric Stanbrough of Assumption Parish in O'Fallon described a presentation at a gathering of Crossroads, a Catholic young adult ministry.

Stanbrough was one of about 60 college-aged to 30-somethings who crowded into a room at Culpepper's restaurant in O'Fallon Jan. 4 to socialize and hear a presentation and discussion led by Father Chris Martin, associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville. Father Martin gave a short history of anti-Catholicism and how it relates to a bias in the news media.

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