Given all we’ve heard from and about Lance Armstrong the last few days, a good ol’ fashioned winter storm would be more welcome. At least we’d know what we were shoveling and why.

How big is the impact? Even the Vatican has taken note of what’s happening in the sports world. This spring it is hosting an international conference that it hopes will re-instill values in sports. Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, head of the  Pontifical Council for Culture’s “Culture and Sport” section, told Catholic News Service that professional sports “have become a commodity that is subordinate to the free market and, therefore, to profit” — like a 30-second commercial on the Super Bowl telecast costing $4 million. By the way, among those expected to be invited to participate in the conference are Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin.

Early Lent: Everyone talks about how early Lent is this year, since it starts Feb. 13 — exactly one month after Christmas ended. For some of us, Lent began last Sunday night: San Francisco 45, Green Bay 31.

By the numbers: Catholic News Service recently reported that there are 163 Catholics in the 113th Congress — a record. That figure includes 136 Catholics in the House, and 27 in the Senate. Oh, of the total congressional membership, 10 percent are alumni of Jesuit colleges and universities. What does that tell us?

Good people doing good things for people doing good things: Potawatomi Casino presented the Milwaukee Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with a $32,709 check on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The money was raised as part of the casino’s annual Miracle on Canal Street bingo benefit. It will be used for the Vincentians’ meal programs.

Well, why not? February is home to all kinds of weeks to observe, e.g., National Pancake Week, National Justice for Animals Week, etc. Now comes word out of Tampa that Feb. 8-9 is Christian Fashion Week. Given it’s only two days, one must figure they’re short on fashions.

According to the event’s organizers: “The vision of Christian Fashion Week is to create the world’s first series of fashion shows and events around the idea of fashion with a Christian worldview, considering Christian values such as modesty, boldness, and true style. We aim to create a viable forum for fashion designers and industry professionals to network and increase awareness of a values-based fashion industry that has always taken a back seat to the world’s more risqué sense of style. Christian Fashion Week is a mission to stand for dignity on behalf of our communities, families, and fashion consumers.”

Isn’t “values-based fashion industry” an oxymoron? Personally, I’m a big fan of another week that begins Feb. 24: National Secondhand Wardrobe Week.

Holy day: For those of us who serve in the Catholic press, this Thursday, Jan. 24, is a special day — the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of the Catholic press. 

Speaking of special times, January is Polka Music Awareness Month. Enjoy: