aSpire: News from the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
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June 28, 2019
Growing a long beard has become a family affair for some of the Friends. While Msgr. Scott Friend (center) already had a short beard, he was inspired to grow it longer over the past year thanks to his nephews, Father Patrick Friend (left) and Deacon Joseph Friend. (Malea Hargett photo)

What's with whiskers?

News you might have missed in 200 words

St. Augustine said, “The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.”

And St. Clement of Alexandria said God “has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with a shaggy chest — a sign of strength and rule.”

Who knew saints had commented on facial hair for men? It's become a trend in recent years for many of our priests and seminarians so we asked them why they are growing beards. Some said for solidarity and some said for competition. And at least one said it has gotten him into a little trouble.

Brother Roch at Subiaco Abbey said, “When I was a novice I was lighting candles in the church and I ended up setting part of it on fire. It burned one side of it pretty well."

The other monks and parishioners still talk about it.  “All you can do is laugh," he said. 

Read more of this fun story from the pages of Arkansas Catholic.

June in review

Did you miss these stories in the June issues of Arkansas Catholic?
  • Little Rock Scripture Study director Cackie Upchurch is retiring July 3. What will she do next?
  • The Diocese of Little Rock will sell Little Rock Scripture Study to Liturgical Press after operating the ministry for more than 40 years.
  • A Little Rock parish has stopped its annual mission to Honduras to focus more on state concerns. At least one parish has decided to return to Honduras while another parish is starting a mission to Belize.
(If you don't already subscribe to Arkansas Catholic, contact us here and we can get you set up with a print or digital subscription so you'll see every story.)


"The increased numbers of refugees throughout the world in recent years has shown us that one country's problem is a problem of the entire human family."

— Pope Francis, June 27


Just one minute

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep ... Whoever enters through me will be saved ... A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (see John 10) Jesus makes it clear that there are forces at work against our salvation: the devil, the thief, the liar. One way we can recognize when we are entering daily life through Jesus, the gate, is if we are experiencing life abundantly.

Reflection: If we are just surviving, just scraping by, just barely making it, there may be an invitation to enter more deeply into Jesus and invite him to enter deeply into your daily life.

— Deacon Danny Hartnedy

July Datebook

4: Independence Day, diocesan offices closed

7-12: Catholic Charities Summer Institute for youth, Little Rock

11: Calix Society meeting, Little Rock

13-14: Peter’s Pence Collection in all parishes

See more events


It's just temporary

Should I still contribute up to the match to my 401(k) at work, like you recommend, if I’m in the process of trying to get out of debt?

Read the full story ...

Priests on the move

It's June and that means many of us are attending goodbye parties for our old pastor and welcome parties for our new pastor. More than two dozen priest changes took effect June 12.

Two priests retired and two newly ordained priests got their first assignments. Did you know that our diocese doesn't have "retired priests" anymore? They are now called "senior priests" since many of them are still very active even though they don't have official assignments.
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