There are 11 “Catholic” schools in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Eight of the 11 are Jesuit schools. Because of the regions in which they were placed, there is a possibility of an all-Catholic Final Four. Possible, not probable, but we can dream of a St. Louis-Gonzaga championship game, can’t we? Oh, how I long for the return of the Loyola Ramblers to the Big Dance.

I’ve been asked why I get excited about the Catholic schools getting bids. Simple: They need the money.

Catholic quote of the week I: Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, writing in The Catholic Standard & Times, March 2012: “… people are free to join or leave the Catholic community. They’re free to criticize Catholic belief in any way they choose. But they’re not free to force Catholic institutions, organizations and individual employers into violating their religious convictions. They’re not free to mislead the public about a flawed and dangerous HHS mandate. And they’re not free to ignore the concerns of Catholic citizens who are rightly angry about the current administration’s indifference to religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”

The price of nastiness: The Freedom from Religion Foundation paid $52,000 for a full page ad in the March 9 New York Times in which they trashed Catholics. See Bishop Donald J. Hying’s response to the ad in the March 15 issue of your Catholic Herald.

Catholic quote of the week II: St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, writing in The Catholic Spirit, March 1, 2012: “Let’s be clear –– there are already precedents for the government to provide reasonable concessions to religious groups relative to the protection of deeply held religious beliefs. The Amish do not carry health insurance, and the government doesn’t force them to do otherwise. Christian Scientists are permitted within the new health care reform bill to heal by prayer alone. Quakers and conscientious objectors are allowed to refrain from military service during wartime. So why can’t the same respect be given to Catholics and other religious groups in this instance [the HHS mandate]?”

Bad timing: It’s difficult to celebrate National Frozen Food Month when it’s sunny and 71 degrees. I’m guessing we’re just getting lulled into thinking there will be no more snow. And then? POW!!!