HB174 passes through committee
The Missouri House Legislative Oversight Committee on March 13 passed HB174. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tila Hubrecht (R-Dexter), would acknowledge the rights of alternatives-to-abortion agencies, such as pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes, to freely assemble and engage in religious practices or speech without government interference. The bill was expected to be debated by the full House this week. Follow www.stlouisreview.com for updates.
The measure also would pre-empt any local government from enacting a law that would require an individual, organization or other entity from directly or indirectly participating in abortion or provide health benefits that are contrary to their religious or moral beliefs. If passed, the bill could have an impact on a new ordinance in St. Louis City — BB203, which Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has said will "force city residents to be unwilling participants in the abortion business by requiring business owners and individuals to tacitly approve any 'reproductive health' decisions made by their employees or tenants."
Go to Bat for Kids
Catholic Charities of St. Louis' 16th annual Go to Bat for Kids program is underway. The program asks people to help bring the joy of attending a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend by sponsoring a ticket for one or more children. Each ticket is $26 for the Friday, May 19, game between the Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The cost also includes a hot dog and soda. Tickets will be distributed to Catholic Charities and other local agencies that assist children in need. To support the program, see www.ccstl.org or call (314) 367-5500.
St. Joseph helps St. Patrick
Students at St. Joseph School in Manchester and their families raised $8,162 for St. Patrick Center throughout the 2016-17 school year. The school recently held a Mission Carnival and raised an additional $1,000 to cap off another year of fundraising for St. Patrick Center, which provides assistance to homeless individuals.
New Borgia principal
St. Francis Borgia Regional High School in Washington announced Pam (Ruether) Tholen, a 2002 Borgia graduate, as the new principal. Tholen received a bachelor's degree in secondary education, with a minor in German from St. Louis University in 2006. She earned a master's degree in educational administration from Missouri Baptist University in 2011. The new principal taught at Union High School from 2006-10. She has been teaching in the Liberty Public School system. In a statement, Tholen said Borgia is "a place where students come to not only continue their education, but also to grow into faith-filled, inspired individuals who will make a difference beyond Borgia."
Tax credit repeal
The Missouri Senate is expected to take up a bill passed by the Missouri House (HCB 3) that would repeal a tax credit renters can claim if they are seniors or disabled. The credit on property tax, popularly known as the "circuit breaker," has been in place since 1972, when it was passed by Missouri voters. It has always included both property owners and renters, with renters allowed to claim a credit for a portion of their rent, up to $750. The Missouri Catholic Conference supports reforms in the credit, but opposes HCB 3 because it completely eliminates the renters credit and places too much financial hardship on some of Missouri's poorest citizens. Proponents of HCB 3 said renters don't pay property tax, so they should not get the credit; opponents said landlords pass on a portion of their property tax in the rent they charge, so it is appropriate to allow renters to claim the credit. On average, the credit provides about $550 to low-income renters. Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service in St. Charles also opposes the bill because of its effect on the low-income disabled and elderly people it serves.
Palm Sunday retreat
Msgr. Michael Witt, professor of Church history at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, will lead a Palm Sunday weekend retreat April 7-9 at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka. The theme is "From Palm Sunday to Easter, from Canoe to Cathedral, a Lenten reflection based on our Catholic Heritage." The retreat will focus on the lives and virtues of several early St. Louisans, including St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Bishop Joseph Rosati, John and Bryan Mullanphy, and Fathers Pierre Gibault and Peter De Smet. Cost is $190 per person, which includes lodging, linens and meals. The retreat will include Saturday and Sunday Mass, the sacrament of reconciliation, prayer services and reflection times. For more information go to www.mretreat.org or call Jim Ford at (636) 938-5390.