A special collection for the formation of permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be held at Masses the weekend of Oct. 5 and 6. The collection relieves some of their financial burden for studies to become a deacon. Since 1977, 465 men have been ordained as permanent deacons in the archdiocese. There are 189 active deacons ordained for the archdiocese and 102 retired deacons. There are 67 men in formation. The program has gradually expanded to five years of formation, plus three more years of post-ordination formation. Deacons serve in parishes, hospitals, archdiocesan agencies, and other organizations. Six deacons serve as parish life coordinators. Half of the active deacons continue to work full-time jobs, requiring them to balance family lives and professions with their ministry as a deacon.
The Saint Louis University Prison Education Program has received a $15,000 grant to host the NEA Big Read. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read promotes the joy of sharing a good book. The SLU Prison Education Program is one of only 78 nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community reading program in the coming year. The Prison Education Program’s NEA Big Read project will focus on “In The Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick. Activities will take place from January through May of 2020. The SLU Prison Education Program will engage readers at their partner facilities, FCI (Greenville) FCI-Camp (Greenville), the ERDCC (Bonne Terre) and in the greater St. Louis community through a kickoff event, book discussions and events with speakers. This is the third NEA Big Read grant awarded to the SLU Prison Education Program. Previous projects focused on Edwidge Danticat’s “Brother, I’m Dying” and Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven.” The Prison Education Program is a Jesuit-inspired initiative that provides access to liberal arts educational opportunities for incarcerated people and prison staff in the greater St. Louis region. It is the only program in the nation offering on-site, credit bearing college courses to both populations.
On Sept. 23, Ursuline Academy students traveled to St. John Vianney High School to celebrate a community Mass. They celebrated the 60th anniversary of St. John Vianney’s opening and their shared history. This community Mass has been a tradition since St. John Vianney’s 50th anniversary in 2009, and the two schools gather every five years to celebrate. In the late 1950s, Archbishop Joseph Ritter closed Eugene Coyle High School, a co-ed archdiocesan high school located in Kirkwood in favor of a new private, Catholic high school for boys. The Marianists agreed to sponsor the school. With the formation of a new school for boys, Archbishop Ritter asked the Ursuline Sisters if the young women from Eugene Coyle could attend Ursuline Academy. The Ursuline Sisters and the Marianists welcomed the students into their schools starting in 1960.
The Roman Catholic Foundation, in partnership with Catholic Charities of St. Louis, will present, “The Conversation: A Catholic Perspective on End-of-Life Issues,” from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Our Lady of Life Apartments, 7655 Watson Road in Shrewsbury. The free seminar will include presentations on Catholic bioethics, Catholic funeral and cemetery planning, advance directives and estate planning and charitable gift planning. To register, visit rcfstl.org/the-conversation or call (314) 918-2892.
Hope in the struggle
“Persistence, Resistance and Transcendence,” a conference on hope in the struggle against racism, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Fontbonne University, 6800 Wydown Blvd. in Clayton. The keynote speaker is Jesuit Father Joseph A. Brown, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Included are workshops on preaching about racism, diversity programming in elementary schools, the struggle for racial justice in high schools and how to work effectively on racism in parishes and religious communities. Cost is $20 or $10 for students, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. The program is presented by The Catholic Racial Justice Collaborative with several co-sponsors. Register at www.tinyurl.com/y5rn68e6.
Christopher West coming to St. Louis
Best-selling author and Catholic speaker Christopher West, and Catholic musician Mike Mangione will visit St. Louis for an event, “Made for More,” from 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Oakville. West, who is known for his work on St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” and Mangione will address the questions, “Where do we come from and where are we going” which are decisive for understanding what it means to be human and how to orient our lives and our actions toward authentic fulfillment. The two will creatively weave together dynamic presentations with live music, movie clips, YouTube videos, and sacred art for an evening of beauty and reflection on the meaning of life, love and human destiny. Tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased online at corproject.com/stlouis. For more information, contact Katie Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 540-0397.