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‘Sounds of the Season’ to feature choir, documentary

"Sounds of the Season," a special on KTVI, Channel 2, on Christmas Day, aims to inspire, inform and entertain through readings and music from the Archdiocesan Adult and Children's Choirs and a documentary on the history of Catholic education in the archdiocese.

"Lessons and Carols," a recording of the Archdiocesan Adult and Children's Choirs on Dec. 17 at the Cathedral Basilica (see story, page 9), will air at 3 p.m., followed at 4:10 p.m. by an hourlong documentary. A brief message from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will be included.

The documentary, "Mission To Educate — A Faithful Past, A Faith-Filled Future," first aired on HEC-TV (Higher Education Channel) in 2010 and was updated for the airing on Dec. 25. It was created in a partnership with the Catholic Education Office and HEC-TV. The program documents the history and pioneering moments of the Catholic education system in St. Louis and also looks to the future.

Catholic school alumni served as narrators in the original documentary. They include former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, broadcaster Wendy Wiese, former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom, artist Mary Engelbreit, sportscaster Martin Kilcoyne, U.S. Soccer Federation head Dan Flynn, Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tenn., and former NFL quarterback Trent Green.

The documentary tells the story of the pioneers of Catholic education, and the Catholic schools established to teach not only young Catholic males, but students no one else would teach — girls, Native Americans, African Americans, deaf children, orphans and students with physical and developmental disabilities. Credit is given to bishops who worked to bring Catholics and Catholic educators to St. Louis, and to the many religious communities that settled in St. Louis and established schools.

Dennis Riggs, HEC-TV president, said the documentary is being seen for the first time on an over-the-air television station. "It's a tremendous story of faith, leadership and courage," he said. "The fact is they were the first to educate African Americans years before Brown vs. the Board of Education. They were educating young ladies and Native Americans, and so-called enlightened people were throwing rocks through their windows. They stood up and said, 'This is the right thing to do.'"

The program is a positive one for the community, Riggs said, adding thanks to the station for airing local programming. The recording from the cathedral basilica will be posted on the HEC-TV website after Dec. 25. 

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