Catholics understandably grouse about the coverage the national media gives to the Church. But here in Cincinnati, the Enquirer doesn’t appear to be part of that trend. Yes, their reporters hammered the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over its handling of the abuse scandal and, last year, the Ramadan love-fest with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Hamas affiliate, but, well, the archdiocese deserved it. This morning’s paper features two stories worth highlighting. The first is a page-one, above-the-fold inspiring story from reporter John Faherty on St. Peter Claver Latin School adjacent to the iconic Old St. Mary Church in Over the Rhine:

Every morning during the school year, the doors open at the St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys. It almost feels like a daily miracle. The K-8 school has just 20 students. There is one eighth-grader and there are no fourth-graders. The tuition is $5,000 per year, and only one student pays it.

St. Peter Claver was the vision of a Catholic priest who dreamed of helping poor boys in Over-the-Rhine get a better start. Eleven years after opening, there is still no real school building. Classes are taught in a warren of rooms in the former administration building of Old St. Mary’s Church, built in 1841, at the corner of 13th and Main.

There is no kitchen, so women from nearby parishes bring lunch nearly every day. For gym class the boys take basketballs from the trunk of their teacher’s car and dribble down Clay Street to an old gym in the basement of the Salvation Army. The homeless sleep in stoops across the street.

But inside the classrooms, the students, nearly all disadvantaged no matter how you define the word, learn Latin and write poetry. They study art and music and science. They say their prayers in English and Latin.

Sometimes, the fact that a school like this even exists makes it a success. …

The second story, which dominates the arts section, is from Janelle Gelfand on a new coffee-table book on sacred art in local Catholic churches:

“Messages of Glory: The Narrative Art of Roman Catholicism,” a newly released coffee-table book, is illustrated with stunning images in brilliant colors. They are imaginatively displayed to show the sheer beauty of this sacred art, crafted in glass, stone, paint and mosaic.

After 1950, thousands of Catholics across the country fled inner cities, and parishes left with them. Today, artifacts and stained glass windows can be found in abandoned churches and schools, unknown and endangered.

The 221-page book tells the story of when Cincinnati was a hub for immigrant artisans. The art in the photos is mainly from about 1840 to 1950, a time of transition of the church from Europe to America, when thousands of immigrants came from Ireland, Germany, Greece and France. Their churches, often in inner-city neighborhoods, were filled with breathtaking stained glass windows, oil paintings and marble sculptures.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

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