Archbishop's column

Before the Cross - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Column

'Before The Cross' by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Archbishop Carlson is the ninth Archbishop of Saint Louis. Listed below are the most recent columns written by Archbishop Carlson; click on the title to read the column. The Archdiocesan website has more information about Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Invite Jesus into your actions today

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated the closing Mass July 19 at the second weekend of the Steubenville Mid-America Conference. More than 7,000 teens attended the two weekends of the conference. For more photos and coverage, visit

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things..." (Luke 10: 41)

BEFORE THE CROSS | God awaits our response to His plan for us

The readings in the past week give us a shortened version of the entire Exodus story. The Israelites begin the week in slavery; they end the week in freedom.

The opening of the readings from Exodus strengthens our faith. Exodus 1 details a great calamity: How the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians after 400 years of living peacefully in their midst. Exodus 2 relates the birth of Moses: God's people are oppressed, but the plan for their deliverance is set in motion. It will take several years for that plan to ripen to its fullness. But God is at work to deliver his people.

BEFORE THE CROSS | God acts to protect His people from harm

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson made a pastoral visit to Father Luis Mesa, the superior of the Messengers of Peace, a mission and religious community based in Colombia, South America.  The community is dedicated to praying for peace in that nation and around the world. The mission also has a commitment to works of peace through serving children, the elderly and poor in Colombia.  The archbishop was instrumental in supporting Father Mesa in founding the Messengers of Peace who is pictured renewing his vows as he is incardinated into the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In Scripture readings this week, God's people face three threats -- each potentially deadly. But God gives three corresponding responses to protect His people from death. Let's look at each.

"Thus the Lord saved Israel on that day from the power of the Egyptians." (Exodus 14:30)

The first threat is the Egyptian army. The Israelites have escaped from Egypt with Pharaoh's permission. But when Pharaoh realizes he lost his slave labor, he regrets the decision and pursues the Israelites with his army -- either to kill them or force them back into slavery.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Following Christ an important aspect of freedom

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, left, laughed with Mae Duggan June 18 after a luncheon and awards ceremony at which her husband, Martin Duggan, was posthumously awarded the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Excellence in Communication Award. Duggan’s daughter, Mary Leahy, received the award on behalf of her father.

"So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom." James 2:12

BEFORE THE CROSS | Finding challenges and blessings in God's call

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

This week, we begin a cycle of readings from Genesis, the first book of the Bible; and we celebrate the feasts of three martyrs: St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher on June 22 and St. John the Baptist on June 24.


The cycle of readings from Genesis will take us from chapter 12 to chapter 50. These chapters tell the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. The story goes all the way from God's calling of Abraham through the almost-sacrifice of Isaac, from Jacob wrestling with the angel to the settling of the Israelites in Egypt in the time of Joseph.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Let's make our lives a gift to others

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, left, spoke with Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham on the opening day of the USCCB Spring General Assembly in St. Louis.

Welcome back to Ordinary Time.

Of course, technically, we've been in Ordinary Time since May 25 -- the day after Pentecost. But the Sundays after Pentecost were celebrations of the Most Holy Trinity and the Body and Blood of Christ. So June 14 is the first regular Sunday since Feb. 15 -- before Lent.

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