Since 2010, the Catholic Herald has featured the “10 most inspirational people” whose stories it has told during the previous year. Yesterday, for the first time, we held a luncheon for the honorees and their guests. Each was recognized for the inspiration he/she provided, and was personally congratulated by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki.

(Catholic Herald photo by Ricardo Torres)I have never eaten lunch with so many faith-filled and, of course, inspirational people. One could nothing less than awed by the impact they have made on the lives of others by living their faith into action. They are pictured here with the archbishop; you can see the list and a synopsis of what each did that day. 

Inspiration II: Pew Research released data yesterday noting that Pope Francis’ popularity among Americans is increasing. According to a news release, he is most widely admired by Catholics (nine out of 10), but six-in-10 Protestants and two-thirds of the religiously unaffiliated also view him favorably.” Data indicates the pope’s favorability rating among U.S. Catholics is comparable to ratings for Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and ’90s. Is it OK to use the term “fan base” when talking about the Vicar of Christ? Definitely. By the way, he begins the third year of his pontificate a week from today.

Good stewardship: Marquette University president Mike Lovell announced this morning that the school will not contribute money to the building of a new arena. Definitely an educated decision. Whether the Bucks stay or leave, the Golden Eagles will still have a place to play.

Zzzzzzzz: National Sleep Awareness Week ends tomorrow, but Napping Day will be observed on Monday. You’ll appreciate that since you’ll lose an hour of sleep Sunday.