The first-place photo by Randy Allen in the #SpringatLaSalle photo contest.

Even before the final votes were tabulated, staff and visitors were in agreement about La Salle Retreat Center in Glencoe: The grounds and historic buildings are beautiful.

The #SpringatLaSalle photo contest merely confirmed that.

Described by director Michael Sawicki as "the best kept secret among Catholics in St. Louis," the center ran the contest for six weeks after Easter Sunday, as spring blossomed on the 180-acre property on Highway 109, about three-and-a-half miles north of Eureka and Interstate 44.

The contest mandate was simple enough.

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In a temporal sense, the rooms Father Phil Krahman visited May 11 at Mother of Good Counsel Home in Northwoods were representative of rooms anywhere, similar in form and function for residents' care and comfort whether there or at other skilled nursing facilities.

But in a spiritual sense, the rooms represent so much more; they reflect the personalities, wants and desires of their particular residents — the souls within.

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'The Incarnation'

Christ's incarnation troubles some Christians. It almost always did.

Today, as in past centuries, some find it difficult to accept the Incarnation fully. They doubt, perhaps, that God really could or would become man.

Perhaps, too, they wonder why on earth the Lord would enter as fully and warmly as the Gospels say He did into the lives of people of all kinds, including those living in situations that fell far short of perfect.

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San José Chapel, one of eight chapels under the pastoral care of Parroquia San Rafael in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, suffered the most extensive damage of all the chapels. Located close to the sea, a hurricane Sept. 20 ripped off material that covered the roof, flooding the inside of the chapel. The chapel’s padded chairs were damaged and several doors also needed repair.

More than four months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Father Jorge Virella was feeling stressed as he worried about how his parish, San Rafael in Quebradillas, was going to come up with the funding to restore several chapels.

At the same time, about 2,000 miles away in St. Louis, Father Bob Reiker had cracked open the Official Catholic Directory, looking for a church in Puerto Rico where his parishioners at St. Raphael the Archangel could send donations from their recent Lenten project.

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It started as a class on developing leadership skills, but it turned out to be God's hand working to bring people together through the game of soccer while raising awareness of homelessness.

Junior Tony Petruso had signed up for Leadership, a semester-long elective course for juniors and seniors at St. Dominic High School in O'Fallon. On the first day of class, students received the assignment to design a service project that would take the entire semester to plan and execute. Focus on something you're passionate about, teacher Nancy Holden-Nims told the class.

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Archdiocese of St. Louis

Archdiocese of St. Louis
20 Archbishop May Dr
St. Louis, MO 63119