Stories on how the Catholic Church is responding to events in Ferguson

'Sacrifices and service' | Howard University students spend alternative spring break doing service here

Howard University students Maiyah Mayhan and Savannah Thomas sang along with the choir of St. Augustine Church in north St. Louis. The students spent an alternative spring break volunteering for service projects in the St. Louis community — specifically in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County. The Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Charles Lwanga Center and St. Augustine Parish were among the group’s hosts.

College spring breaks conjure images of beaches, bars and booze ... with brutal hangovers in the mornings.

But a group of Howard University students skipped those "traditional" rites of spring in favor of wholesome, worthwhile activities in their break the week of March 15.

AN EDITOR'S LIFE | Proper justice starts with us

Teak Phillips

Even before the U.S. Department of Justice released the long-anticipated "Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department," our community heard stories of abuses by Ferguson's police and in the municipal courts. Many protesters last year cited these injustices as the real motivation for protests. Michael Brown's shooting was just a catalyst.

The protests often were mixed with criminal acts of violence and vandalism. Police -- and even some protesters -- pointed to outside agitators as the antagonists.

Civil rights icon Sister Antona Ebo says spread the love of God

"We need to get out and tell the people that we are here to praise and magnify the Lord and worship him," Sister Antona Ebo told attendees of the Faith in Ferguson prayer gathering March 10 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

Sister Antona Ebo, FSM, sat in the back of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and greeted the many who attended the sixth "Faith in Ferguson" prayer service March 10.

For about 20 minutes following the service, she shook hands, posed for pictures or just shared laughs and hugs in what quickly became a receiving line.

Sister Cathy Doherty, SSND, who organizes "Faith in Ferguson," attributed the crowd of an estimated 300 to Sister Ebo's presence on the 50th anniversary date of her participation in a Voting Rights march in Selma, Ala.

Powerful visual highlights racial disparity

Jennifer Dunn, left, from St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, Ella Scott from St. Nicholas Parish, Drew Garvey from St. Elizabeth Mother of John the Baptist Parish and Sylvester Raymond with Visitation/St. Ann Shrine participated in an exercise March 7 at “Sacred Conversations on Race (+ Action)” at Sts. Teresa and Bridget Church in St. Louis. The exercise demonstrated racial disparity.

About a half-hour into the session March 7, the "Sacred Conversation about Race + Action" turned on a visual.

A powerful visual.

Facilitator Margie Pride, minister of Memorial Boulevard Christian Church, made a series of statements. Four volunteers -- two black and two white, a male and a female in each pair -- moved one step forward when a statement reflected their experiences.

Most statements dealt with race and the individual's assessment of a specific situation; for example, related to housing, fashion, shopping, public speaking or culture.

Fontbonne students provide business boost for Ferguson burger bar

Ferguson Burger Bar and more owner Charles DAvis

On a recent afternoon, Charles Davis sat behind the counter at his restaurant -- Ferguson Burger Bar and More -- and took advantage of the lull to catch up on some work.

Along with his co-owner and wife, Kizzie, Davis wears many hats. Business manager and floor sweeper. Marketing executive and server. Financial officer and cashier. You name it and he does it, sneaking in duties between customers in his 12-hour days, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"Even when it's slow, there's always something to do," he said in a brief break from handling paperwork and working the phones.

Flat tire fails to deflate priest's mission in Ferguson

Father Art Cavitt, pastor of St. Nicholas Parish Downtown, was the main speaker at the Faith in Ferguson gathering Feb. 17 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson. Father Cavitt spoke of Black History Month being “human history” for all. Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

Father Art Cavitt's day had gone pretty much as planned.

He handled duties as executive director of the St. Charles Lwanga Center and as pastor at St. Nicholas Parish, and he would end the workday by leading the monthly archdiocesan "Faith In Ferguson" prayer service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson -- just 11.6 miles and a 17-minute drive from St. Nicholas via Interstate 70.

Father Art left in plenty of time to arrive early, kibitz and relax a bit before the 4:30 prayer service, but ...

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