Archdiocesan news briefs

Virtual prayer service

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski and representatives from other St. Louis Christian communities will join together for a virtual prayer service on Sunday, Jan. 31, from 7-8 p.m., in observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The prayer service will allow participants to virtually enter more than a dozen churches in the St. Louis area as they pray together for Christ’s unity among us. The event is organized by the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. To sign up, visit bit.ly/35wwKcY.

30 years of support

The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation is marking three decades providing scholarships to children in need in the St. Louis region. In 1991, Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff, SSND, then superintendent of Catholic Education, joined forces with Archbishop John L. May and a group of civic leaders to make faith-based education accessible to more children in St. Louis. Since then, the mission of the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation has grown from supporting hundreds of elementary school scholarship recipients annually to more than 4,000 scholars at 119 private and parochial elementary schools per year, at a near decade commitment to each child. Alumni of TTEF scholarship programs succeed in life at a rate far beyond their peers. They had 100% high school graduation rates in 2020 and 90% enrolled in post-secondary education or the military. “This organization began as a leap of faith, but after 30 years, we can stand here and say we know that this mission did work, does work, and will continue to work for St. Louis children,” said Kevin Short, board chairman. “The evidence is clear, and the need for our mission is never more apparent in the midst of this pandemic, which lays bare the social inequalities that remind us our work is not done.” Since the organization’s inception, Today and Tomorrow has grown into the fourth-largest foundation of its kind in the country, having raised more than $150 million from local and national funding sources. More than 4,000 elementary school scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year are available in the application process that began Jan. 11. The scholarships give parents a choice and students a chance to attend the faith-based or private school of their choice, said Sharon Gerken, executive director of the foundation. “Educational achievements transform the lives of individuals, their families, and our community,” she said. For more information, to support scholarship recipients or apply for a scholarship, visit ttef-stl.org.

International role

Ralph Middlecamp has been appointed as the new international vice president for solidarity and special projects to the Council General International of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. A Madison, Wisconsin, resident, he also serves as president of the National Council of the United States based in St. Louis. In his new role, Middlecamp will oversee the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s international efforts in twinning, a program connecting conferences and councils in developed countries with those in areas lacking the means to conduct their works of charity; the Commission for International Aid and Development, which provides financial assistance to member national councils which have had a disaster and are providing relief to the victims; and special projects. Since its founding in Paris in 1833, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has grown to 800,000 members in over 150 countries with 1.5 million volunteers. Vincentians’ service to a neighbor in need is an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. They offer tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis.

Support our heroes

SSM Health is providing several suggestions on ways to thank front-line essential workers — health care workers, grocery store clerks, first responders and more. Suggestions include making yard signs; writing letters of gratitude to health care heroes (send to Wishes for Health Care Heroes, 1015 Corporate Square Drive, Suite 101 Creve Coeur, MO 63132); call, video-chat or text an essential worker in your life; deliver food or groceries (make sure you contact a hospital ahead of time and coordinate the delivery in order to adhere to the hospital’s regulations, rules and protocol); and wear a mask and encourage others to wear a mask.

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