packathon for Haiti
Students, co-workers, alumnae, family and friends of Ursuline Academy took part in a community-wide service project Dec. 8 packing 40,000 meals to be sent to Haiti. This event was a part of Ursuline’s celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The goal of this project, in addition to packing 40,000 meals for the families of Milot, Haiti, is to gather as an all-school community and live out the Ursuline motto of Serviam, “I will serve,” and the sharing of faith and Gospel call to serve. Prior to the service project, Tim Traynor from the Crudem Foundation spoke to the Ursuline community and shared more about the Haiti Project. The packathon was part of Ursuline’s work with the Haiti Health Promise of Holy Name founded as the Crudem Foundation and its work with Hôpital Sacré Coeur providing health care to the sick and the poor. Ursuline was tasked with raising $12,000 to help fund the items needed to complete the packathon.
Two for one
Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Creve Coeur hosts two annual Christmas collections for Marygrove, a Catholic Charities agency which provides a safe home, compassionate care and high-quality mental health services to children who have experienced significant trauma. The parish has undertaken the project since 2015 and also makes periodic contributions. On behalf of the staff and children, Gabrielle Ballard, marketing and events manager at Marygrove, stated that “we are incredibly grateful for the outpouring love and support from our friends at Our Lady of the Pillar.” In addition to the traditional annual Christmas collection, Marygrove received gifts this summer through the annual “Christmas in July“ collection. Nearly 1,000 children, adolescents and young adults are served each year at Marygrove. “Sharing the love of Jesus Christ, your gifts significantly help Marygrove continue our mission to provide a safe home, compassionate care, and high-quality mental health services to children who have experienced significant trauma, to restore their childhood and equip them for the future,” Ballard wrote.
Catholic artist Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs illustrated “Christmas Blossoms,” a new tale about an old man in Communist China who paints Christmas ornaments for the Western market. For her illustrations, Thompson-Briggs employed a combination of drawings and traditional Chinese ink wash paintings. Written by Priscilla Smith McCaffrey and endorsed by Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, “Christmas Blossoms” is available through Sophia Press at
bit.ly/3D60HON. Thompson-Briggs, a parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, is an oil painter in the perennial tradition of Western sacred art. Her work decorates churches, schools, and private homes throughout the Americas and Europe.
St. Mary’s championship
St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis won the school’s first football state championship Dec. 4 with a 56-0 win over St. Pius of Kansas City at Faurot Field in Columbia. St. Mary’s finished 12-1 in its run to the Class 3 Missouri State High School Activities Association title. The Dragons averaged 49 points a game this season. Jamal Roberts rushed for 114 yards in the title game, and quarterback Carron Spann added 71 yards on the ground along with throwing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Kevin Coleman caught two touchdown passes for 97 yards, and Chase Hendricks caught two passes for 58 yards. Later, it was learned that Coleman was named the 2021-22 Gatorade Missouri Football Player of the Year. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
NFP intro sessions
Couples planning their weddings, wanting a natural way to plan their families, or having difficulty conceiving, are invited to sign up for an introductory session in Natural Family Planning. Visit the archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning at stlouisnfp.org for more information on several Church-approved methods of NFP. Or to schedule an appointment, see bit.ly/NFPintro. Introductory classes are held weekly at various locations.
Ariel concert series
Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Soulard will host Sonatas, Suites, and Meditation for the Ariel Concert Series on Monday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Music will be performed by St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians. Admission is free. See arielconcertseries.com for more information.
Men for Christ
Catholic Men for Christ’s 2020 conference, featuring Jeff Cavins, who is producer of the Bible in a Year Podcast, will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Si Commons at St. Louis University High School, 4970 Oakland Ave. in St. Louis. Registration is now open, with $30 discounted tickets available through Jan. 10. The admission fee includes a box lunch. For information, visit