Patricia Rice

Patricia Rice is a freelance writer based in St. Louis who has covered religion for many years. She also writes about cultural issues, including opera.

About 250 Catholic bishops will be attending a meeting on key topics important to the Church in St. Louis this week.
Courtesy USCCB's Facebook page

Three married Catholic couples concerned about family life in America spoke to the about 250 bishops who lead the nation’s 71 million Catholics. The couples suggested ways the Catholic parishes and dioceses can support families challenged in a secular culture that often depicts marriage as irrelevant.

Protecting children and removing abusers from the Catholic Church should be among the top priorities of a national assembly of 250 Catholic bishops meeting in St. Louis, a church leader told the bishops on Wednesday.
 

Two hundred fifty U.S. Catholic bishops are meeting in St. Louis this week to discuss earthly and heavenly concerns, ranging from the airborne danger posed by drones, to the smuggling of migrants on turbulent seas, to the environmental impact of underground shale oil recovery. The bishops say their concerns will be tempered to model Pope Francis' emphasis on the gospel themes of love and mercy.

A Level I Trauma Center at St. Louis University Hospital.
Provided by Saint Louis University Hospital

The Monday announcement that nonprofit, Catholic SSM Health is acquiring Saint Louis University Hospital, the medical school's teaching facility, from for-profit Tenet was expected by many St. Louisans — expected, that is, nearly a generation ago.

In 1997, the SSM network lost its bid to buy the SLU medical complex at Grand Boulevard and Vista Avenue. The battle pitted the archbishop against the Jesuit-run university and divided rank-and-file Catholics.

Pope Francis meets with four representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the Vatican April 16.
Vatican

Pope Francis gave his blessing Thursday to a leadership network of Catholic nuns closing early what was set up as a four-year investigation.

The pope didn’t say “go forth and sin no more.” The message was more like keep up your good work, but tip toe around some flaky-‘60s style programing at your annual meetings. He encouraged their missions:  Keep helping the poor, the sick, children, youth and the marginalized.

star of david
Alex Proimos | Flickr | Detail of image

The area’s Jewish population is up 14 percent since 1995 to an estimated 61,000 people. Households with at least one adult Jew have increased 34 percent for a count of 32,900, according to an in depth survey commissioned by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

On Wednesday night, federation leaders announced findings from a survey of more than 1,000 St. Louis Jewish households that they called “a snapshot” of the Jewish community and how it “engages Jewishly.” The margin for error in this size study is plus or minus 4.5 percent.

Father Fernand Cheri III
Frank Methe Jr. | Clarion | Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis has many East St. Louis and Belleville Catholics smiling today. A few yelped with joy. The pope has named their beloved “Father Ferd” — the Franciscan friar Fernand Cheri III — a bishop for the New Orleans Diocese.

Cheri, 62, lived in East St. Louis from 2002 to 2009, serving at St. Augustine Parish in East St. Louis and as a counselor at Althoff High School in Belleville. He directed dynamic youth gospel choirs at both the high school and the parish.

The high average age of U.S. nuns was a concern expressed in the report.
Manu Gomez | Flickr

The Vatican gave U.S. Catholic sisters what seems to be a joyfully grateful Christmas card Tuesday morning. The long-awaited report by the Vatican department that oversees women and men religious was a benediction.

It said the Vatican is “committed to collaborate in the realization of Pope Francis’ resolve that the ‘feminine genius’ find expression where important church decisions are made.”

The show at the Mercantile Library has so many elements, some are on the floor.
Facebook post

To celebrate a major birthday — say, 50 or older — many hosts serve cake and display photos of the celebrant: baby photos, first steps, awkward adolescence, coming of age and major landmarks of adulthood.

For St. Louis’ 250th birthday celebration, John Neal Hoover has done just that. At the Mercantile Library’s new exhibition, Hoover hung several century-old photos, older paintings and drawings, but mostly he tells the city history in maps.

Paintings portrayed by, from left, Daniel Brevik, Tobias Greenhalgh, and Theo Lebow; at center is Stephanie Blythe as Gertrude Stein and Elizabeth Futral as Alice B. Toklas
Ken Howard | OTSL

In a year when opera companies nationwide still struggle with the effects of the Great Recession, and sadly the venerable once-innovative New York City Opera closed, St. Louis continues to support three professional opera companies.

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