News for Catholic living from the Diocese of Little Rock
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Dec. 31, 2021

Newly ordained priests Ben Riley, Brian Cundall, Omar Galván, Emmanuel Torres and Alex Smith bless the congregation at the end of the ordination Mass May 29 in Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. (Bob Ocken photo)

2021 Year in Review

2021 was a year of perseverance, but one that will be looked back on with some major highlights. Locally, the Diocese of Little Rock saw a historic snowy Lent and the ordination of five new priests. Nationally, the second Catholic president in U.S. history was inaugurated. Meanwhile, globally, the world continued to endure the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergence of vaccines helped return a small semblance of normalcy. In addition, refugees fled Afghanistan to escape the hardline, militant Taliban, with 49 permanently relocating to Arkansas. Here are five of Arkansas Catholic's top moments of 2021, plus 10 big moments in the life of the Church, people who inspired us, all of Arkansas Catholic's special sections, spreads and articles, as well as those who left us this year. 


St. John of the Cross is most famous for writing about the dark night of the soul. This is a time in which a faithful friend of Jesus experiences an insatiable desire for God, deep longing and love for intimacy with Jesus, yet experiences silence and absence from God. This is a difficult time of spiritual growth. It is a time in which to lean into the desire for God and the truth of our faith that God is always present and always hears us.

Reflection: Take some time today to visit with Jesus about your current desire for deep friendship with him. If you go back to a time with the assurance of faith when you felt God was distant or silent. How do you see and experience the situation now knowing that God is always present and listening?

— Deacon Danny Hartnedy

Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians USA)

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Jan. 4

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York City in 1774. At 19, she married and had five children, but her husband died of tuberculosis in Italy in 1803. She returned to the United States and founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and began St. Joseph's Academy and Free School, starting Catholic education in the United States. Mother Seton, as she is often called, was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. She was the first citizen born in the United States to become a saint.


Post-Christmas cost-cutting

When it comes to paying off credit cards and getting out of debt, I’ve heard you talk about cutting up the cards and closing the accounts. Should I pay off the balances before or after I close the accounts?
Cut them and close them


Ministry of Catechists

Pope Francis has instituted the new "ministry of catechist" as a formal office and vocation. The catechist will not be a substitute for the priest or deacon, but a member of the lay faithful who works in collaboration with ordained ministers.
Golden lift chairs from TruMotion


2: Epiphany of the Lord
4: Calix Society of Central Arkansas Meeting, Little Rock
7-8: 2022 Women's Religious Discernment Retreat, Little Rock
9: Youth Advisory Council Meeting, Little Rock
10: Mount St. Mary Academy Open House, Little Rock


"I see him doing very well, with so much strength; really, he doesn't seem to be 85...He is very active, enthusiastic, he doesn't stop... He's doing very well,"

— Pope Francis' nephew, 
Jesuit Father José Luis Narvaja,
on the pontiff's Dec. 17 birthday 

December aSpirations

• What are the Gifts of the Magi?
Louise Hess retires after 32 years of service
Military organization salutes Fort Smith school
Thanks for reading aSpire. Craving more? Take a nibble on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; get some depth on the Arkansas Catholic website. And for a heaping helping, subscribe to Arkansas Catholic. Oh, and forward this issue to share!
Malea HargettHave a news tip? Please contact me. 
Your humble editor, 

Malea Hargett
Arkansas Catholic
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