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.

The instruction ‘Redemptionis Sacramentum’ — IX


Chapter 8, the final chapter of the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, takes up the question of the remedy of liturgical abuses.It begins by reminding us that a liturgical abuse is, in fact, "a real falsification of Catholic liturgy." Constant vigilance is required against such falsification and, when it occurs, it must be corrected. It makes no sense for the Church to acknowledge serious wounds inflicted upon her sacred worship by us without providing us, at the same time, the effective remedy to treat the wounds.

The weighty responsibility for the correct celebration of the sacred liturgy belongs to the priest and bishop.The instruction quotes St. Thomas Aquinas, who declared in his Summa Theologica:

"The vice of falsehood is perpetrated by anyone who offers worship to God on behalf of the Church in a manner contrary to that which is established by the Church with divine authority, and to which the Church is accustomed" (n. 169).

Clearly, the whole Church must be concerned that falsehood not enter into her most sacred activity, but the bishop and his priests have the responsibility to receive reports of liturgical abuse and to correct them.

General remedy

An essential remedy for liturgical abuse is the coherent presentation and understanding of the Church’s teaching and discipline regarding the sacred liturgy.Many liturgical abuses, perhaps most of them, are not owed to any malice on the part of the perpetrator but to a failure in understanding the true nature of the words and actions employed in sacred worship.It is reasonable to trust that, if a careful catechesis on the worship of God is consistently offered, liturgical abuses will be recognized and eliminated.The catechesis must draw from two fonts: the sacred Scriptures and the sacred liturgy.

What sound and consistent catechesis does not remedy must be remedied in other ways.It would be a sign of a serious loss of faith to permit abuses to continue sullying the sacred action of Christ in the Church.Both for the individual who observes the abuse and for the whole Church, there exists the obligation to safeguard the right celebration of the sacred mysteries. If we do not have the deepest respect and care for the sacred liturgy, then we have also lost respect for our faith itself and its integrity.All of us should be especially attentive to our reverence at the holy Mass and other liturgical rites.By our reverence, we express our understanding of the sacred action which is taking place and are able to unite ourselves to Christ, who acts on our behalf through the sacred liturgy.

It follows then that, if an abuse or abuses are not addressed directly, there is the grave danger of the spread of doctrinal and even moral error.What is the process to be followed in addressing persistent liturgical abuses?The instruction provides a description which it introduces with these words:

"Where abuses persist, however, proceedings should be undertaken for safeguarding the spiritual patrimony and the rights of the Church in accordance with the law, employing all legitimate means" (n. 170).

It behooves all to know the legitimate and respectful way to deal with questions about liturgical abuses.

Distinction of kinds of liturgical abuse

The instruction points out that, while all liturgical abuses are most serious, some abuses are more grave than others. In Latin, they are called graviora delicta.They involve the most serious matters and are, therefore, called delicts or crimes.Other abuses are less grave.In any case, all abuses are to be avoided, given the most sacred nature of worship of God.

In considering the various kinds of liturgical abuse and their remedy, the instruction refers us to Chapter 1 which treats the responsibility of the various ordained ministers.Chapter 1 made it clear that the discipline of the celebration of the sacred liturgy pertains to the authority of the Church, namely, the Apostolic See and, as Church discipline directs, the diocesan bishop.

The more serious abuses

The more serious abuses are rightly called "delicts" or spiritual crimes because they offend the "most august Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist."In accord with the discipline of the Church, their treatment is reserved to the Holy Father’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.The list of the more serious abuses is found in a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published in 2001.It is a letter which was sent to all bishops and their equivalent: "Letter sent to all bishops and other ordinaries and hierarchs of the Catholic Church regarding the more serious offenses (graviora delicta) reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."It may be consulted on the Web site of the Apostolic See: letter treats the more serious crimes committed in the celebration of the sacrament and the crimes against morals.The first section of the document treats the crimes against the holiness of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The diocesan bishop or any member of the faithful who becomes aware of such a delict has the solemn obligation to denounce the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which alone is competent to deal with the matter.For the faithful, such action can be taken on their own or through the diocesan bishop.

The first more grave abuse is "taking away or retaining the consecrated species for sacrilegious ends, or throwing them away."Certain occult or demonic practices require the sacrilegious use of the sacred Host.To take the Body of Christ or the precious Blood for such a purpose is clearly a most grievous offense against our Lord Himself.

Similarly offensive is the "throwing away" of the Body and Blood of Christ.Christ makes Himself really present in the Eucharist in order to be received by us.For a person of faith to take the Eucharist for any other purpose or to throw away the Blessed Sacrament, instead of receiving our Lord devoutly, constitutes the gravest of crimes against holy religion (n. 172a).

To attempt to celebrate the Mass when one is not a validly ordained priest or bishop, or to deceive others into thinking that one is celebrating the Mass when he cannot is the second of the more serious abuses.Because of the most sacred nature of the holy Mass and its supreme importance in the life of the faith, it is an offense against our Lord Himself and His holy people to pretend to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice when one clearly cannot (n. 172b).

The third more serious abuse is "the forbidden concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with ministers of ecclesial communities that do not have apostolic succession nor acknowledge the sacramental dignity of priestly ordination."We must respect the faith and office of religious ministers who do not enjoy apostolic succession.Part of our respect for them includes the acknowledgment that it is not possible for them to celebrate the Mass, an action which is apostolic, that is, can only be carried out by the Apostles and their successors.To pretend to concelebrate the Mass with religious ministers who do not believe in the Eucharist as the Catholic Church teaches and do not believe in holy orders is to commit a grave sin against the most sacred tenets of our faith and to lead others to do the same (n. 172c).

The last of the more serious abuses is "the consecration for sacrilegious ends of one matter without the other in the celebration of the Eucharist or even of both outside the celebration of the Eucharist."It is never permitted, even for some urgent reason, to consecrate one of the sacred species without the other or to consecrate the sacred species outside of the celebration of the Mass (cf. can. 927) (n. 172d).The integrity of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Sacrament must always be fully respected and safeguarded by all.

Grave matters

The instruction points out that the gravity of an abuse is defined by Church teaching and discipline.Any abuse, however, which "puts at risk the validity and dignity of the most holy Eucharist" is to be considered among grave matters (n. 173).

The instruction then makes reference to several numbers from Chapter 3 through Chapter 7, which describe abuses constituting grave matter are nn. 48-52 (on the matter of the Holy Eucharist, that is, the bread and wine; and the text of the Eucharistic Prayer); 56 (on the naming of the supreme pontiff and the diocesan bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer); 76-77 (on the abuses of uniting the celebration of the Sacraments of Penance and of the Holy Eucharist into one liturgical rite, and of inserting the celebration of the Mass into a common meal); 79 (on the abuse of inserting elements from rites of other religions into the celebration of the Mass); 91-92 (on abuses in the distribution of Holy Communion); 94 (on the abuses of "taking" Holy Communion and of passing Holy Communion from one to another); 96 (on the abuse of distributing unconsecrated hosts or other edible or inedible things during the Mass); 101-102 (on abuses in the distribution of Holy Communion under both species);
104 (on the abuses of self-intinction and of reception of the intincted Host in the hand); 106 (on the abuses of pouring the precious Blood from one vessel to another after the consecration and of using unapproved vessels); 109 (on the abuse of celebrating the Mass in the sacred place of a nonChristian religion); 111 (on the abuse of refusing a priest who asks to concelebrate the holy Mass); 115 (on the abuse of the periodic suspension of the regular celebration of the Mass); 117 (on the proper sacred vessels for the Holy Mass); 126 (on the abuse of celebrating the Holy Mass without the proper vestments); 131-133 (on the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament and the taking of the Blessed Sacrament to the sick); 138 (on the abuse of leaving unattended the exposed Blessed Sacrament); 153 (on the abuse of the wearing of the vestments of the ordained ministers by the nonordained); and 168 (on the abuse of exercising a liturgical office by a cleric who has lost the clerical state) (n. 173).

The instruction also makes reference to several canons of the Code of Canon Law, namely cann. 1364, 1369, 1373, 1376, 1380, 1384, 1385, 1386 and 1398.They all have to do with ecclesiastical penalties to be imposed upon those who perpetrate liturgical abuses or have incurred an ecclesiastical penalty which forbids to them the participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice (n. 173).The canons in question express the perennial discipline of the Church, which has always exercised a particular attention to the sanctity of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Other abuses

The other abuses which are treated in the instruction or in other documents of ecclesiastical discipline "are not to be considered of little account."They are to be "carefully avoided and corrected" (n. 174).

The instruction reminds us that the matters which it has treated "do not encompass all the violations against the Church and its discipline that are defined in the canons, in the liturgical laws and in other norms of the Church for the sake of the teaching of the magisterium or sound doctrine." The principle which is always to be followed is the correction of any violation of the right discipline of the celebration of the sacred liturgy (n. 175).

Responsibility of the diocesan bishop

As the "principal dispenser of the mysteries of God," the diocesan bishop is to provide liturgical norms, within the parameters defined by Church law (n. 176).He is "bound to promote the discipline common to the entire Church and therefore to insist upon the observance of all ecclesiastical laws."Quoting can. 392 of the Code of Canon Law, the instruction reminds us that the bishop "is to be watchful lest abuses encroach upon ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the veneration of the saints" (n. 177).

Regarding the procedure to be followed, the diocesan bishop or his equivalent, when he receives news of an abuse against the Blessed Sacrament, must "carefully investigate, either personally or by means of another worthy cleric, concerning the facts and the circumstances as well as the imputability" (n. 178).It is not permitted to the bishop to let liturgical abuses continue without correction.

The diocesan bishop or his equivalent is to refer "without delay to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" the more serious crimes noted above (n. 179).For the rest, he is to apply the norms of the Code of Canon Law, applying canonical sanctions when necessary, in accord with the norm of can. 1326. "If the matter is serious," he is to inform the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (n. 180).

The Apostolic See

When the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments receives directly, that is, from a member of the faithful, the report of a delict or abuse, it refers the matter to the diocesan bishop or his equivalent for investigation."When the matter turns out to be serious, the ordinary should send to the same dicastery as quickly as possible a copy of the acts of the inquiry that has been undertaken, and where necessary, the penalty imposed" (n. 181).

"In more difficult cases the ordinary, for the sake of the good of the universal Church in the care for which he too has a part by virtue of his sacred ordination, should not fail to handle the matter, having previously taken advice from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments."The Holy Father has given to the congregation certain special powers, in order that it may help the diocesan bishop and his equivalents in addressing the more difficult cases (n. 182).

Reporting of liturgical abuses

The instruction concludes Chapter 8 by reminding all of us that each one of us has "a most serious duty" to see to it that the Most Blessed Sacrament is "protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected."The duty is to be carried out "without any favoritism" (n. 183).

At the same time, each of us "has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan bishop or the competent ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman pontiff."The report or complaint regarding a liturgical abuse is normally to be given first to the diocesan bishop."This is naturally to be done in truth and charity" (n. 184).


The instruction concludes by reminding us that the unity of Christ’s Body, which is the fruit of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, can overcome the "seeds of discord" within us, which are the source of liturgical abuses.The Holy Eucharist, above all, is the source of our unity in the Church.Devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament is a most effective means for purifying ourselves of "the seeds of discord."The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments expresses the hope that attention to the liturgical discipline set forth in the instruction will help to overcome the abuses introduced through human weakness and thereby "the saving presence of Christ in the sacrament of His Body and Blood may shine brightly upon all people" (n. 185).As archbishop of St. Louis, I share completely the hope expressed by the congregation, which surely was the hope which inspired our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II to instruct the congregation to prepare the instruction.

The instruction then gives an exhortation to all the different members of the faithful, who participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice:

"Let all Christ’s faithful participate in the most Holy Eucharist as fully, consciously, and actively as they can, honoring it lovingly by their devotion and the manner of their life.Let bishops, priests and deacons, in the exercise of the sacred ministry, examine their consciences as regards the authenticity and fidelity of the actions they have performed in the name of Christ and the Church in the celebration of the sacred liturgy.Let each one of the sacred ministers ask himself, even with severity, whether he has respected the rights of the lay members of Christ’s faithful, who confidently entrust themselves and their children to him, relying on him to fulfill for the faithful those sacred functions that the Church intends to carry out in celebrating the sacred liturgy at Christ’s command.For each one should always remember that he is a servant of the sacred liturgy" (n. 186).

It is well for each of us, especially for me as archbishop and for my brother priests of the archdiocese, on every occasion when we are most highly blessed to celebrate and participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass or other sacred rite, to recall that indeed we are the servants of Christ, "the servants of the sacred liturgy."

The instruction concludes by attesting that it was prepared "by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II," that it was approved by him on March 19, 2004 — the Solemnity of St. Joseph — and that "he ordered it to be published and to be observed immediately by all concerned."

Our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II, at the conclusion of his Petrine ministry, desired most of all to stir up in all of us a new enthusiasm and energy for the worthy celebration of the sacred liturgy and, above all, the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As we honor so much the memory of Pope John Paul II, let us honor, most of all, his desire to renew our participation in the Holy Mass and our worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament outside of the Mass.

Communion with our deceased brothers and sisters


Our communion in the Church is most rich. By our baptism, we are called to be saints, to be, in the words of our Lord, "perfect as [our] heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).In other words, through the Sacrament of Baptism, we become part of the great communion of men and women, living and dead, who have come to life in Christ and strive to follow Him faithfully (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 954-959).
Referring to the disciples of Christ, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council refers to three states of the Church, which traditionally we called the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering and the Church Militant:

"When the Lord will come in glory, and all His angels with Him (cf. Matthew 25:31), death will be no more and all things will be subject to Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:26-27).But at the present time some of His disciples are pilgrims on earth.Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God Himself Triune and One, exactly as He is.’All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity toward God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God.All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have His Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together" (Ephesians 4:16) (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium (On the Church), Nov. 21, 1964, n. 49).

We are one with the saints in heaven, the Church Triumphant.We are also one with our brothers and sisters who have gone before us in death and are in the state of purgatory, making satisfaction for the temporal punishment due to their sins, the Church Suffering.We are the Church Militant, the members of the Communion of Saints who are struggling each day to live more completely in Christ, so that one day we, with all our brothers and sisters, may reach the final destiny of our earthly pilgrimage, the Kingdom of Heaven.

On this past Tuesday, we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, recalling the memory of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us in death and have reached the final destiny of their life pilgrimage in the company of all the saints.They are "in glory," the Church Triumphant.We recalled not only our brothers and sisters who have been publicly recognized by the Church for the heroic sanctity of their lives, but also the countless number of our brothers and sisters "from all tribes and peoples and tongues" (Revelations 7:9), who have followed Christ faithfully during their lives on earth and have attained eternal life with Him in heaven.

On this past Wednesday, All Souls Day, we remembered in a special way the souls of our brothers and sisters in purgatory, praying for their eternal rest and the remission of all temporal punishment due to their sins.They "have died and are being purified," the Church Suffering.We remembered the deceased whom we know and also those whom we do not know but who have need of our prayers.

Month of prayer for the dead

Because we are one with our brothers and sisters who "have died and are being purified," the Church Suffering, we pray daily for their eternal rest.Praying for the dead is one of the spiritual works of mercy (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1032).The Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, following the Consecration, always contains a prayer for our departed brothers and sisters.Also, a venerable tradition in the Church concludes the Prayer of Thanksgiving after Meals with the following invocation: "May the divine assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."

In addition to regular and daily prayers for the dead, the Church sets apart the month of November as a time of special and more intense remembrance of and prayers for the faithful departed.Throughout November, we are asked to pray for the dead, to give Mass offerings for the intention of their eternal rest, and to make pious visits to their graves.In all of these ways, we express our communion with them, our love for them and our desire to continue to assist them in any way possible for us.

Observing the month of November as a time of special prayers for the dead also reminds us of the spiritual care which we are to give to the dying and the reverence with which we are to bring to burial those who have died.The living have the responsibility to see that the dying have the help of prayers and of the sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion.Holy Communion for the dying, because of its importance, is called by a special name, Viaticum.The name refers to the fact that the Body of Christ is given to the dying as the spiritual food to sustain them during their final journey, the passage from this life to the life which is to come.

Today, there is sometimes a hesitation to talk about praying for the dead, lest it seem that in some way we have doubts about the goodness of the person.Recalling that we are all sinners, we should realize that our prayers for the dead do not express a doubt about the goodness of the person but our love of the person and our desire to assist him or her in being purified for entrance into Heaven.To fail to pray for a deceased person and to have Masses offered for his or her eternal rest manifests a grave lack of charity on our part.

Consider the example of St. Monica, a most saintly mother who, for years, prayed and offered sacrifices for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine.Her heroic virtue was evident to all who knew her and was especially appreciated by her son who had been helped so much in his conversion by her prayers and other spiritual works.St. Augustine gives an account of her death in his famous autobiography which is titled "Confessions."He tells us that his mother, St. Monica, was living near Rome at the time of her dying.Augustine and his brother had discussed the hope that their mother could be buried in her home place, in Northern Africa.When the dying Monica overheard the discussion, she told them to give no thought to the place of her burial but, rather, to pray for her eternal rest.St. Augustine quotes her words:

"Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it.One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be" (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, tr. Maria Boulding, OSB, Book IX, n. 27).

Surely, St. Monica understood the importance of the prayers of her sons in assisting her after her death.Her instruction to them is a reminder to us all about our duty, in love, to pray for the dead.


One of the particular ways in which we help our brothers and sisters in the state of purgatory is to offer prayer or carry out a work of devotion for them, to which there is attached an indulgence.An indulgence is the remission of all or part of the temporal punishment due to sins which have been confessed and forgiven.An indulgence is received through the intervention of the Church.Christ endowed the Church with the power to bind and to loose for her members, giving her custody of "the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1478).The Church establishes certain prayers and practices by which a plenary indulgence, that is remission of all temporal punishment due to sin, or a partial indulgence, that is remission of a part of the temporal punishment due to sin, can be obtained either for the person offering the indulgenced prayer or carrying out the indulgenced practice, or for a deceased brother or sister.It also establishes the conditions under which an indulgence can be obtained.

Regarding the conditions under which a plenary indulgence can be obtained, it is important to note three conditions, in addition to the condition that there be no attachment to even venial sin. The three conditions are sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion and prayer offered for the intentions of the Holy Father.It is fitting that the reception of Holy Communion and the prayers for the Holy Father take place on the same day as the indulgenced prayer or practice is offered.The condition of sacramental confession can be fulfilled some days before or after the prayer or practice is offered.

The official list of indulgenced prayers and practices, and the conditions under which an indulgence, plenary or partial, can be obtained is found in the "Enchiridion of Indulgences," published by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the office of our Holy Father which assists him in the matter.The latest edition of the "Enchiridion of Indulgences" was published by the Holy See on July 16, 1999.

Because of the strong bond between the souls in purgatory and us who are still on our earthly pilgrimage to our eternal home, the Holy Father has granted that we can always obtain an indulgence for the faithful departed.Clearly, the Church esteems very much the gaining of indulgences for the dead and desires to encourage us in the practice.

There are four general grants of indulgences which can always be applied to the dead.The first is a partial indulgence, which is granted "to the member of the faithful who, in the performance of his duties and in bearing the trials of life, raises his mind with humble confidence to God, adding — even if only mentally — some pious invocation."The second is a partial indulgence, which is granted "to the member of the faithful who, led by the spirit of faith, gives himself or his goods, out of mercy, in service of his brothers who are in need."The third grant is a partial indulgence "to the member of the faithful who, in a spirit of penance, on his own abstains from something which is licit and pleasing for him."The fourth is a partial indulgence, which is granted "to the member of the faithful who on his own gives open witness to the faith before others in the particular circumstances of daily life" (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum: Normae et Concessiones, 4th ed., Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999, pp. 33-44).There are many occasions throughout the day when we can avail ourselves of these general grants to obtain partial remission of the temporal punishment due to sin on behalf of our brothers and sisters in purgatory.

Specific indulgences for the faithful departed

The "Enchiridion of Indulgences" gives several specific prayers and practices by which we can obtain a plenary or partial indulgence for the dead.They are in addition to the possibility we have of applying any plenary or partial indulgence to a deceased person.

There are two specific grants of a plenary indulgence applicable to the souls in purgatory.The first grant is given to the member of the faithful who, from the first to the eighth of November makes a visit to the cemetery, during which he prays for the faithful departed.The second grant is for the member of the faithful who visits a church or chapel on All Souls Day (Nov. 2), during which he prays the Our Father and the Apostles Creed.

There are also three specific grants of a partial indulgence applicable solely to the souls in purgatory.The first is given to the member of the faithful who makes a visit to the cemetery on any day,during which he prays for the dead.The second is given to the member of the faithful who prays Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead, which is found in the "Liturgy of the Hours."The third is given to the member of the faithful who recites the invocation:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.May they rest in peace.Amen.

On Jan. 1, 1967, Pope Paul VI issued the apostolic constitution "Indulgentiarum doctrina, (On the Doctrine of Indulgences)."In it, he expressed in an inspiring way the reason of the ancient practice of obtaining indulgences for the dead, clearly linking it to the teaching on the Communion of Saints:

"Following in the footsteps of Christ, the Christian faithful have always endeavored to help one another on the path leading to the heavenly Father through prayer, the exchange of spiritual goods and penitential expiation.The more they have been immersed in the fervor of charity, the more they have imitated Christ in His sufferings, carrying their crosses in expiation for their own sins and those of others, certain that they could help their brothers to obtain salvation from God the Father of mercies.This is the very ancient dogma of the Communion of the Saints, whereby the life of each individual son of God in Christ and through Christ is joined by a wonderful link to the life of all his other Christian brothers in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ till, as it were, a single mystical person is formed" (Pope Paul VI, apostolic constitution Indulgentiarum doctrina [On the Doctrine of Indulgences], Jan. 1, 1967, n. 5b).

The obtaining of indulgences on behalf of the souls in purgatory is a wonderful way by which we can help our brothers and sisters who "have died and are being purified."

Masses for the dead

As part of your prayer and sacrifice on behalf of the souls in purgatory during the month of November, I urge you also to arrange for Masses to be offered for the deceased who are dear to youand for those who have need of our prayers.The fruits of the Holy Mass, applied to the soul in purgatory, are the greatest gift of love we can offer to the dead with whom we remain united in Christ, in His Mystical Body.

Mass offerings can be made to your parish priest at any time.Also, the priests in the missions are always disposed to offer Masses for the eternal rest of the faithful departed.The offerings which they receive for the Masses are a significant means of their support.Offerings for Masses to be celebrated by missionary priests may be sent to the Archdiocesan Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Also,priests who are infirm or are retired from the parish are happy to offer Masses for the intentions of the deceased.


May the month of November mark in us a growing understanding of our participation in the Communion of Saints, especially our communion with our brothers and sisters who have died and are being purified.May it draw us closer to them in Christlike love.If we are not already doing so, let us make prayers for the dead an integral part of our daily prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

And may perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary: at the heart of archdiocesan life


In coming to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I was especially happy that the archdiocese has its own college seminary, Cardinal Glennon College, and its own theological seminary, Kenrick School of Theology.Both seminaries are located in the same building at 5200 Glennon Drive in the City of Shrewsbury and are commonly called by one name: Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.At one time, the two seminaries were housed in two separate buildings, not too distant from each other,but Archbishop John L. May decided to locate both seminary programs at what was then the college seminary, Cardinal Glennon College.The former Kenrick School of Theology was eventually remodeled by Archbishop Justin F. Rigali for use as a center for the administration and pastoral activity of the archdiocese.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary has a long history, beginning with the first seminary founded by our first bishop, the saintly Joseph Rosati, a Vincentian priest.The archdiocesan seminary was, in fact, operated and directed by the Vincentian Fathers for nearly 177 years. Their service was outstanding and very generous to the archdiocese, often given at their own expense or for a modest stipend.For the past 11 years or so, the archdiocese has assumed the full responsibility for the operation and direction of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

Seminary at the heart of the archdiocese

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is at the heart of the life of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, for it prepares men to serve as priests for the faithful of the archdiocese and of the other dioceses which do not have their own seminary and have chosen our seminary for the preparation of their priests.The home and the parish are the places in which the Christian life is first and daily lived to its fullest, but both the home and the parish depend upon the seminary, in order that they may have a priest who, by the grace of holy orders, is a true shepherd for them.The priest, by the grace received in ordination, acts in the person of Christ, head and shepherd, in every community of the Church.Without the priest, the Christian home and community suffer for want of their proper shepherd.They suffer, most of all, for the lack of the celebration of the Mass by the priest, and the forgiveness of their sins through the ministry of the priest.The priest is also the chief teacher of the faith in the local community and has charge of the discipline and direction of the community, according to the mind and heart of Christ.

At the beginning of a new school year, I write to you about the critical work of preparing the future priests of the archdiocese and of the other dioceses which send their seminarians to us for their priestly education and formation.I find that often Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is taken for granted or is little known.The seminary must become better and better known, because of its key importance to the life of the Church.

Also, I write to you about our seminary in response to a number of commentaries about the apostolic visitation of U.S. seminaries and houses of formation, which appeared in the secular media some two weeks ago.I write to tell you what this means for our seminary.

Importance of the archdiocesan seminary

It is important for a diocese to have its own seminary for several reasons. First of all, having a proper seminary makes it possible for the diocesan bishop to fulfill more fully one of his primary responsibilities, that is, to provide for the proper education and formation of the future priests of the diocese.Our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II wrote the following about the bishop and his seminary:

"The presence of the bishop is especially valuable, not only because it helps the seminary community live its insertion in the particular Church and its communion with the pastor who guides it, but also because it verifies and encourages the pastoral purpose which is what specifies the entire formation of candidates for the priesthood.In particular, with his presence and by his sharing with candidates for the priesthood all that has to do with the pastoral progress of the particular Church, the bishop offers a fundamental contribution to formation in the "sense of the Church (sensus Ecclesiae)," as a central spiritual and pastoral value in the exercise of the priestly ministry" (Pope John Paul II, post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis [On the Formation of Priests in the Circumstances of the Present Day], March 25, 1992, n. 65e).

Just as Christ called the Apostles and carefully instructed and formed them for their apostolic priestly ministry, so the bishop represents Christ calling men to the seminary and preparing them for consecration as priests.

The interior call of the Holy Spirit, which the seminarian hears, must be verified by the bishop who alone calls a man to holy orders.It is very difficult for the seminarians to continue to hear the call without the active engagement of the bishop in their seminary formation.At the same time, it is difficult for the bishop to come to know the seminarians, in order to call them to priestly ordination, if they receive their seminary formation outside the diocese, often far away from the See city.

When the seminary is in the diocese, the bishop also can attend to the appointment of the best possible faculty to staff the seminary.Regarding the choice of faculty, Pope John Paul II wrote:

"It is evident that much of the effectiveness of the training offered depends on the maturity and strength of personality of those entrusted with formation, both from the human and from the Gospel points of view.And so it is especially important, both to select them carefully and to encourage them to become ever more suitable for carrying out the task entrusted to them" (Pastores dabo vobis, n. 66b).

The Holy Father continued by indicating that the priest faculty members must lead an exemplary life, so that the priestly formation which they impart is not merely a matter of words but of living witness.He stressed the importance of having "the cooperation also of lay faithful, both men and women, in the work of training future priests" (Pastores dabo vobis, n. 66c and 66e).

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is blessed to have the service of several archdiocesan priests and two religious order priests.There are several excellent laymen and laywomen serving on the faculty of the seminary.Two dedicated religious Sisters also serve on the faculty and staff.Just last week, I spent a day interviewing all of the faculty for 30 minutes each in order that I can be more closely united with them in their most important service.Regarding the members of the seminary faculty in their relationship to the bishop, Pope John Paul II declared: "They should be intimately joined to the bishop, who is the first one responsible for the formation of the priests" (Pastores dabo vobis, n. 66b).In my conversations with the faculty, I wanted very much to confirm their unity with me in carrying out their important mission.The seminary has, I can assure you, a well-prepared faculty, all of whom are deeply dedicated to the good of the Church and of our seminarians.

Another reason why it is important for a diocese to have its own seminary is the formation of the seminarians in the locations in which they will serve as priests, among the people whom they will shepherd, and among the priests with whom they will serve. For example, our seminarians spend some time each week doing apostolic work in one of the parishes of the archdiocese.The seminarians tell me how helpful and encouraging their work in the parishes is.The faithful of the parishes in which they serve are so happy to get to know their future priests and to receive their service.The priests are encouraged to get to know better those who will be joining them in the pastoral care of God’s flock.The presence of the seminarians is also an inspiration to the young men in the parish who are hearing the call to the priesthood.

Finally, in the diocesan seminary, the seminarians form brotherly bonds which will sustain them throughout their priesthood.One of the most impressive aspects of our seminary is the way in which the seminarians encourage and assist one another.They also have more opportunities to get to know the priests of the archdiocese, with whom they will soon be serving and will form one presbyterate.

The seminarians

This year, we have 58 seminarians in the theology and pre-theology programs at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.The pre-theology program is for those seminarians who come to the seminary after having completed their college education elsewhere.The lack, in whole or part, the systematic study of philosophy, which is essential to the study of theology.

We have 21 seminarians in the college seminary.All but one of the seminarians in the college is from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.We have one college seminarian from the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa.

Kenrick School of Theology has 25 seminarians from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.Five of them are in pre-theology.The other 33 seminarians come from 13 other dioceses and one institute of the consecrated life.Two of the seminarians are from Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan in Central America.The archdiocese has a long and wonderful relationship with the Church in Belize, which has been mutually enriching for decades.The other archdioceses and dioceses represented are Bismarck, N.D.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Des Moines; Jefferson City, Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City-St Joseph; Lafayette, Ind.; Memphis, Tenn.; Omaha, Neb.; Rockford, Ill.; Springfield, Ill.; and Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

The institute of the consecrated life is the Sons of Our Mother of Peace. The headquarters of the institute are at High Ridge in the archdiocese.The Sons of Our Mother of Peace carry out door-to-door evangelization in the archdiocese, primarily among nonCatholics and especially in the predominantly African-American parishes.

Seminary education and formation

At Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, as at all seminaries, the seminarians receive formation or preparation in four key areas: human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation and pastoral formation. All are key to the future life and ministry of the seminarian, should he be called to the priesthood, and all four are related to one another.They are described in detail in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation "Pastores dabo vobis": human formation (nn. 43-44), spiritual formation (nn. 45-50), intellectual formation (nn. 51-56), and pastoral formation (nn. 57-59).

Space does not permit me to enter into a detailed discussion of the richness of education and formation provided in each of the key areas.In my future columns, I hope to present the four areas of formation in detail.

I assure you that all of the areas are given constant attention, also regarding their relationship to each other.Both the administration, faculty and I are keenly aware that we must keep the formation at the highest level possible in every area. Msgr. Theodore L. Wojcicki, the rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, and Father Timothy P. Cronin, the director of Cardinal Glennon College, give the day-to-day direction to the seminary program.Msgr. Wojcicki is helped in carrying out his weighty responsibilities by Father Edward J. Richard, MS, vice-rector and dean of formation, and Father Lawrence C. Brennan, vice-rector and dean of studies.Father Donald E. Henke, in addition to teaching moral theology, has charge of the pre-theology program. From my visits with the seminary faculty, I can see that all of them have in mind the total work of formation and the part which each of them is contributing.

In this regard, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is also served by a highly-competent board of trustees, of which I serve as the chair.The members of the board of trustees held me very much in my responsibilities for the seminary.Msgr. Wojcicki and Father Cronin take part in all of the meetings of the board of trustees, providing them an accurate report on the work of the seminary and receiving their counsel.Both Msgr. Wojcicki and Father Cronin maintain an active and complete communication with me, so that I can fulfill my essential responsibilities for the formation of our future priests.

Clearly, too, I, together with Msgr. Wojcicki and Father Cronin, bear a heavy burden of responsibility toward the other archbishops and bishops, along with the superior of the Sons of the Mother of Peace, who confide their seminarians to our care for their priestly formation.We make every effort to keep in good communication with all of them.

The apostolic visitation

In late January, our seminary will receive a visitation from the Apostolic See, more specifically from our Holy Father’s Congregation for Catholic Education.The visitation will be carried out by bishops and priests from our country, chosen and appointed by the Congregation for Catholic Education, who will be assisted by qualified members of the laity.The visitation is to take place in absolute confidence because it is carried out in the name and at the instruction of the Roman pontiff.The final report after the visitation will be given directly to the Congregation for Catholic Education, which will take appropriate action based on the findings.The visitation of our seminary will take place in the last week of January 2006.

The apostolic visitation, by definition, will examine every aspect of seminary life and discipline: the concept of the priesthood in the seminary, the governance of the seminary, policies for admission to the seminary, the seminarians themselves, the four areas of formation (human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral), promotion to holy orders and other concerns.The current apostolic visitation has two specific objectives.First of all, it is "to examine the criteria for admission of candidates and the programs of human formation and spiritual formation aimed at ensuring that they can faithfully lived chastely for the kingdom."Secondly, related to the first objective, it will give "particular attention" to the area of intellectual formation "to examine fidelity to the magisterium, especially in the field of moral theology, in the light of ‘Veritatis splendor’" (Congregation for Catholic Education, Seminaries and Institutes of Study, Instrumentum Laboris for the Apostolic Visitation of the Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation in the United States of America).

Background of the apostolic visitation

To understand the specific objectives, it is necessary to review the background of the apostolic visitation.The cardinals of the United States and the leadership of our conference of bishops requested the apostolic visitation during their meeting with our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II in April 2002, regarding the most grave evil of the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy.Given the gravity of the evil involved, it was rightly observed that seminaries should be visited to make certain that every possible care be taken to avoid the ordination of a seminarian who would eventually sexually abuse children and young people.

The majority of the cases of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy do not involve true pedophilia, that is, the sexual abuse of pre-adolescent children, but homosexual acts perpetrated upon adolescents.The highest incidence of the acts occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, a period marked by a general decline in seminary discipline and the strong emergence of an erroneous moral theology.Over the past years, the Church has been giving constant attention to the restoration of the necessary discipline in seminaries, especially the asceticism required to lead a chaste life, in accord with the promise of celibacy or perpetual continence.With regard to seminary discipline, I can tell you that I am edified at the discipline followed at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

The erroneous moral theology, known as consequentialism or proportionalism, was addressed in a definitive manner by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter "Veritatis splendor (Regarding Certain Fundamental Questions of the Church’s Moral Teaching)," issued on Aug. 6, 1993.Consequentialism or proportionalism, "while acknowledging that moral values are indicated by reason and by Revelation, maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behavior which would be in conflict, in every circumstance and in every culture, with those values" (Veritatis splendor, n. 75b). As a result, consequentialism or proportionalism judges the morality of an act in two different ways: "its moral ‘goodness’ is judged on the basis of the subject’s intention in reference to moral goods, and its ‘rightness’ on the basis of a consideration of its foreseeable effects or consequences and of their proportion" (Veritatis splendor, n. 75b).In such a way of thinking, the moral goodness or evil of an act is "determined exclusively by the faithfulness of the person to the highest values of charity and prudence, without this faithfulness necessarily being incompatible with choices contrary to certain moral precepts" (Veritatis splendor, n. 75c).In such a way of thinking, moral precepts concerning grave matter are no longer seen as always and everywhere binding but rather relative to the intentions of the person acting and the expected consequences of the action."In this view, deliberate consent to certain kinds of behavior declared illicit by traditional moral theology would not imply an objective moral evil" (Veritatis splendor, n. 75d).

As you can imagine, the error of consequentialism or proportionalism easily led to self-deception regarding the rightness or wrongness of acts which the Church has always considered to be grave violations of the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, including homosexual acts.When the error of consequentialism or proportionalism was taught in seminaries, it was harmful in two ways.First of all, it risked the compromise of the moral life of the future priest, and, second, it prepared the future priest to propagate the error in his teaching and counsel of others.

The leadership of the bishops in our nation and the officials of the Holy See, therefore, rightly saw the need to conduct an apostolic visitation to insure that every seminary in our nation is following the sound guidelines for seminaries and seminary formation.Clearly, particular attention needs to be given to the teaching of "Veritatis splendor" in the seminaries and the correct moral conduct of seminarians, in accord with "Veritatis splendor," particularly in what pertains to the demands of purity and chastity.Once again, I am pleased to say that the teaching of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is thoroughly sound.We are blessed to have on the faculty two experts in moral theology whose teaching is fully coherent with the teaching set forth in "Veritatis splendor."As one faculty member observed to me, erroneous proportionalist thinking is not tolerated for a minute at the seminary.

Questions regarding homosexuality

As you may have noted in the coverage in the local secular media some two weeks ago, the claim was made that the apostolic visitation is directed at a kind of purging of any person with same-sex attraction from the seminary.The objectives of the apostolic visitation, rather, aim to assist seminaries and seminarians in dealing with erroneous thinking and practice in the area of sexual morality.The key is the right moral thinking and action of seminarians who are helped to grow strong in the virtues of purity and chastity, knowing that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and never justified.Put in another way, the formation in the seminary is to help the seminarians grow strong in respect for the conjugal meaning of the human body, both in their thinking and acting.In other words, one’s sexuality is seen as ordered to the exclusive and perpetual union of man and woman in marriage, which has its highest fruit in the procreation of offspring.For the seminarian and priest, respect for the conjugal meaning of the body means giving up the good of the marital union and, therefore, any sexual activity, in order to direct one’s affections totally to Christ and His Mystical Body in the priestly ministry.

The apostolic visitation rightly aims at assuring that the seminarians are correct in their moral judgments regarding sexual matters and, specifically, homosexual acts, and that the seminarians are, in fact, leading a pure and chaste life.For the rest, if a seminarian suffers from same-sex attraction, the matter must be addressed respectfully and thoroughly on an individual basis, so that no seminarian is advanced to holy orders who does not acknowledge, also in practice, the always disordered nature of homosexual acts, and so that no seminarian who cultivates same-sex attraction or engages in homosexual acts is permitted to remain in the seminary.The concern regarding the homosexual condition, which is required by the results of the study of the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy, is, therefore, placed within the context of the totality of concerns which the apostolic visitation must address.


It is my hope that what I have written acquaints you a bit more with Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and leads you to become better acquainted with our seminary of which we can all be rightly proud.I encourage you to make a visit to the seminary, at which you are always welcome.It is also my hope that you will have the occasion to meet one or more of our seminarians, so that you can witness first-hand the results of the excellent work of priestly formation at our seminary.

Regarding the Apostolic Visitation of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in late January, I hope that my explanation helps you to see the very positive good which the apostolic visitation should accomplish for the continued strengthening of the preparation of the future priests of the archdiocese and of the other dioceses and institutes of the consecrated life which use our seminary. In particular, the apostolic visitation will give us the occasion to strengthen our seminarians in the virtues of purity and chastity which must strongly mark the life of the priest as a true shepherd of the flock.

Finally, I hope that what I have written will lead you to pray for Kenrick-Glennon Seminary daily and also to be generous in your support of the seminary. The seminary is at the heart of the life of faith in the archdiocese.Let us all work together to keep our seminary strong, so that the archdiocese will continue to enjoy the strength of good and virtuous priests.

‘This is My Body, which will be given for you’: Mission Sunday


One of the major celebrations of each Church Year is World Mission Sunday.This year, we will observe World Mission Sunday on the weekend of Oct. 15-16.

World Mission Sunday is so important to our life in the Church because Christ calls us to be one with Him as He gives Himself for the salvation of the world.In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is the source of our life in Christ and its highest expression, Christ unites us to Himself.His words at the Last Supper, the first Eucharist, "This is My Body which will be given up for you," identify who we are in Christ and His mission which is our mission.Even as He offers Himself for the life of the world, so, too, we are called to offer ourselves for the life of the world, according to our vocation in life, our special gifts and our work.At the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Bishops declared:

"Then, when He had by His death and His resurrection completed once for all in Himself the mysteries of our salvation and the renewal of all things, the Lord, having now received all power in heaven and on earth (cf. Matthew 28:18), before He was taken up into Heaven (cf. Acts 1:11), founded His Church as the sacrament of salvation and sent His apostles into all the world just as He Himself had been sent by His Father (cf. John 20:21), commanding them: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19ff)."Go into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature.He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe, shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15ff). Whence the duty that lies on the Church of spreading the faith and the salvation of Christ, not only in virtue of the express command which was inherited from the apostles by the order of bishops, assisted by the priests, together with the Successor of St. Peter and supreme shepherd, but also in virtue of that life which flows from Christ into his members: "From Him the whole body, being closely joined and knit together through every joint of the system, according to the functioning in due measure of each single part, derives its increase to the building up of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16).The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ, that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, decree "Ad gentes divinitus [On the Church’s Missionary Activity]," Dec. 7, 1965, n. 5a).

It is Christ, alive within us through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who inspires in all of us a strong and effective commitment to and engagement in the Church’s world missions.

While it is true that few of us are called to travel to the various parts of the world to evangelize directly our brothers and sisters, all of us are called to be one with the missionaries who do so, for we desire to share our greatest gift, the grace of Christ, with all of our brothers and sisters in every part of the world.We are called to be one with missionaries in prayer and sacrifice, and one with them by our material support of their missionary work.

St. Thrse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, affectionately called "The Little Flower," is our great example in living out our missionary calling.Although she never left her cloistered Carmelite monastery in Lisieux, France, she was heroic in her dedication to the missions, praying ceaselessly and offering her support, especially through her letters, to missionaries.She longed to live out her contemplative vocation in one of the missionary lands, but God called her, instead, to be a most ardent missionary without leaving her homeland.In 1927, Pope Pius XI declared St. Thrse of Lisieux, together with St. Francis Xavier, patron saints of the Church’s missions.

Message of Pope John Paul II

Because of the importance of World Mission Sunday, the Holy Father, as Vicar of Christ on earth, always issues a special message to all the faithful several months in advance of the celebration, in order to help them to prepare fittingly. On Feb. 22 of this year, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II published his "Message for World Mission Sunday 2005."He gave it the title: "Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world."If you wish to read the entire text of the message, it can be accessed on the Internet at

In the message, Pope John Paul II places this year’s celebration of World Mission Sunday within the context of the Year of the Eucharist.He shows us how World Mission Sunday "helps us to better understand the ‘eucharistic sense of our life’" (n. 1a).Participating in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we are called and strengthened to offer ourselves for the salvation of the whole world.World Mission Sunday underlines for us the universal nature of the Eucharist: Christ offers Himself for the salvation of the world.The Holy Father observes: "In this way, while the Eucharist helps us to understand more fully the significance of mission; it leads every individual believer, the missionary in particular, to be ‘bread, broken for the life of the world’" (n. 1b).

The world, "shaken by tragic events and shattered by catastrophic natural disasters," is hungry for Christ who offers Himself as the Living Bread come down from Heaven in the Holy Eucharist.Even as He became man, out of His immeasurable divine love for us, so He calls us to bring Him in the Holy Eucharist to all our brothers and sisters, in order that they may have eternal life (n. 2).

"We who nourish ourselves with the Body and Blood of the crucified and risen Lord, cannot keep this ‘gift’ to ourselves; on the contrary we must share it."Participation in the Holy Eucharist means a steadfast commitment "to building a more just and fraternal world" (n. 3).Pope John Paul II refers us to his apostolic letter announcing the Year of the Eucharist, in which he wrote:

We cannot delude ourselves: By our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ (cf. John 13:35; Matthew 25:31-46).This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our eucharistic celebrations is judged (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter Mane nobiscum Domine [For the Year of the Eucharist, October 2004-October 2005]," Oct. 7, 2004, n. 28b).

Certainly, our response to the missionary appeal of the universal Church is a hallmark of the sincerity and fruitfulness of our participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

The Holy Father then discusses our missionary vocation to become "bread broken" for our brothers and sisters in all parts of the world, who have not yet had the Gospel preached to them in its integrity and have not yet received the gift of faith and life in the Church.Some missionaries have given their lives for their brothers and sisters in martyrdom, suffering death for the sake of fidelity to Christ and His call in their lives.He prays that their example will inspire many young men and women to follow in their footsteps."The Church has need of men and women willing to consecrate themselves wholly to the great cause of the Gospel" (n. 4b). In our daily prayer for those called to the consecrated life and the priesthood, let us not fail to pray for those called to be missionaries, that they will have the courage and generosity to respond to God’s call.

May the annual celebration of World Mission Sunday be the occasion for us to renew our prayers for the priests of the archdiocese serving the Church’s world missions in the Archdiocese of La Paz and the Vicariate Apostolic of Pando in Bolivia, and in the Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan in Belize.Fathers Patrick T. Hayden, Father Robert J. Menner, Father James R. Michler and Msgr. David A. Ratermann are serving at the Parroquia Maria Reina in La Paz. Bishop Morgan A. Casey serves the Apostolic Vicariate of the Pando.Father Anthony G. Siebert and Father Kevin F. Hederman are serving in the Diocese of Belize-Belmopan.

The Holy Father invites us "to increase our awareness of the urgent necessity to participate in the evangelizing mission undertaken by the local communities and many Church organization, in particular the Pontifical Mission Societies and the missionary institutes."He asks us to be generous in our "spiritual and material cooperation" with them (n. 4c).

Finally, the Holy Father calls upon the intercession of the Mother of God, so that each of our parishes may become authentically Catholic, that is, communities marked by a spiritual life which is eucharistic and, therefore, missionary.He prays that all the faithful and missionaries, in particular, will not "hesitate to offer themselves as ‘bread, broken for the life of the world’" (n. 4d).

50th Anniversary of Daily Worldmissionaries

Our annual celebration of World Mission Sunday in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is marked with special significance this year.The Archdiocese of St. Louis is known throughout the United States for the generosity of our faithful in prayer, sacrifice and material support of the Church’s missions.Integral to the generosity of the entire archdiocese is the prayer and work of a distinguished group of faithful called the Daily Worldmissionaries.There are currently 5,015 members of the organization.

The organization traces its origins to the World Mission Exhibition which was held at the Keil Auditorium in May 1953.A generous group of the laity worked with the archdiocesan director and assistant director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in organizing the exhibition.They were so inspired that they expressed the desire to continue working, in a special way, for the world missions.They found the model for their organization in a mission aid program developed by Pauline Mary Jaricot (1799-1862), the foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Lyon, France.The program comprises daily prayer, daily sacrifice and daily material support of the work of missionaries, among whom was Pauline Jaricot’s brother, a missionary priest in Indochina.Interestingly enough for the archdiocese, Bishop William DuBourg, who had the pastoral care of our territory as Bishop of New Orleans and lived in our see city, sought help for his missionary work here from Pauline Jaricot.

The Daily Worldmissionaries pray three times each day for the world missions, offering an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the invocation of the two patrons of the missions: St. Francis Xavier, pray for us, and St. Thrse, pray for us. They also sacrifice some luxury each day, so that they can set aside daily 25 cents, at least, in material support of the missions.

A special "mite box" is provided for the Daily Worldmissionaries, in which they place their daily sacrifice.At the end of each month, the Daily Worldmissionaries give their offerings to the group leader or send it directly to the Daily Worldmissionary Office, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119.

The membership of the Daily Worldmissionaries is aging.God bless those faithful members who have sustained so wonderful a missionary apostolate over the years.I call upon all of the faithful of the archdiocese, and especially our younger faithful, to consider membership in the Daily Worldmissionaries.There are no meetings to attend.Your work will be hidden but most efficacious: daily prayer, daily sacrifice and daily monetary support of the world missions.You may join by telephoning the archdiocesan Mission Office: (314) 792-7660.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, I will celebrate the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, at 10 a.m. for World Mission Sunday and the 50th anniversary of the Daily Worldmissionaries.You are invited to participate in the Holy Mass, praying for the needs of the Church’s missions throughout the world.It would be wonderful to announce on the joyous occasion of the 50th anniversary Mass that many more faithful of the archdiocese have chosen to join the Daily Worldmissionaries.


The World Mission Sunday collection will be taken up in your parish on the weekend of Oct. 22-23.Please be generous, so that missionaries throughout the world may continue to receive the support of the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, who recognize their call to give of themselves for the life of the world.

May your participation in the Holy Eucharist increase your identification with our Eucharistic Lord Who gives His life for us always in the Church.Your heart, one with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, will overflow with a generous love of all your brothers and sisters, especially those who have not yet had the Gospel preached to them and have not yet received the gift of faith.

The instruction ‘Redemptionis Sacramentum’ — VII


Having completed the discussion of the Church’s discipline surrounding the celebration of the Holy Mass, the instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum" takes up, in Chapter 6, the discussion of the reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of eucharistic worship outside of the Mass.Clearly, the reservation of the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle is directly related to the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar of sacrifice at the Mass.The custody and care of the eucharistic species during the Holy Mass is, therefore, also reflected in the custody and care of the reserved Blessed Sacrament.

The reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist
It may be asked why the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle after the distribution of Holy Communion during the Mass.Would it not be logical to consume all of the Sacred Hosts until the Holy Mass can be celebrated again?

The Church has understood that Christ makes Him present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, as spiritual food not only for those who are able to participate in the Holy Mass but also for those who are not able to participate, especially the homebound and the infirm.He desires, in a most special way, to come to those who carry a burden of suffering, so that they may unite their sufferings to His own Redemptive Sacrifice.

What is more, the Real Presence naturally inspires in the faithful the desire to visit Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and to worship Him in the Blessed Sacrament.As a result, there have rightly developed in the Church many practices, both private and public, by which we worship the Most Holy Eucharist (n. 129).Our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II repeatedly urged to worship the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass and was an outstanding example of devoted love of our Eucharistic Lord.In his last encyclical letter to us, he wrote:

"The worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass is of inestimable value for the life of the Church.This worship is strictly linked to the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.The presence of Christ under the sacred species reserved after Mass — a presence which lasts as long as the species of bread and wine remain — derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed toward communion, both sacramental and spiritual.It is the responsibility of pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the eucharistic species" (Pope John Paul II, encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia [On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church]," April 17, 2003, n. 25a).

The Holy Father makes reference to the repeated promotion of eucharistic worship outside of Mass by the Roman pontiffs and to the many examples of eucharistic devotion in the lives of the saints.He quotes St. Alphonsus Liguori, who declared that worship of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest among all devotions and the devotion which is most helpful to us.

The tabernacle and its placement

The Holy Eucharist is reserved in a tabernacle which is immovable, that is, securely fixed so that it cannot be carried away.It is to be made of solid and opaque material, and is to have a closure (lock) which protects the Blessed Sacrament, as much as possible, from any profanation (Code of Canon Law, canon 938, paragraph 3). The key to the tabernacle is to be most diligently kept in a safe place.It is not to be left in the door of the tabernacle (canon 938,paragraph 5).

The tabernacle is to be located "in a part of the church that is noble, prominent, readily visible, and adorned in a dignified manner."The location is also to be "suitable for prayer," that is a place of quiet in which there is sufficient space for the faithful to kneel and sit in prayer (n. 130).Because of the direct connection between the Real Presence of Christ on the altar of sacrifice from the moment of the consecration at Mass and the abiding Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle, it is most fitting that the tabernacle be placed as near to the altar of sacrifice as possible.The reality of the Real Presence is visually represented when the tabernacle is placed directly behind the altar of sacrifice with the crucifix above.

The location of the tabernacle must be under the clear authority of the diocesan bishop.In other words, it is not permitted to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in a place other than those mentioned in universal Church law, unless permission has first been received from the diocesan bishop (canon 934, paragraphs 1-2).It is never permitted to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in a place in which there is a danger that it may be violated.The instruction makes clear that, if the diocesan bishop is aware of the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in an unfitting place, he is to revoke immediately the permission for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament (n. 121).

It is not permitted to take the Blessed Sacrament to one’s home or any other place, except for the purpose of bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound.The instruction warns that taking the Sacred Host for a sacrilegious purpose or throwing away the sacred species are most serious crimes, "the absolution of which is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" (n. 132).

When one is taking the Blessed Sacrament to the sick, he or she is to go directly from the tabernacle to the sick person’s home "leaving aside any profane business so that any danger of profanation may be avoided and the greatest reverence for the Body of Christ may be ensured."The instruction also reminds us that the Rite for the Administration of Holy Communion to the Sick, as found in the Roman Ritual, is to followed in all such cases.

Forms of worship of the Blessed Sacrament outside Mass

The instruction begins the presentation on the private and public forms of worship of the Blessed Sacrament outside Mass by reminding us that such devotion "should be vigorously promoted, for by means of it the faithful give adoration to Christ, truly and real present."The instruction also reminds us that the Holy Father, the bishops and priests have the responsibility to foster, also by their own example, eucharistic devotion.It mentions, in particular, the responsibility of pastors of souls to provide for exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, so that the faithful may worship our Eucharistic Lord (n. 134).

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament should be a regular part of our lives.Because we believe that our Lord is really present in the tabernacle, we go before the tabernacle in prayer to have spiritual communion with him.Prayer offered in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord is particularly efficacious.When a young person is struggling to know his or her vocation in life, I always recommend frequent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.Many young men and women have told me how they came to know God’s will and received the courage to do His will through prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.It makes sense that the special communion with our Lord, which we have in His presence, unites us to Him in doing all that the Father asks of us.The instruction describes the power of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in these words:"For the contemplation of Jesus present in the Most Holy Sacrament, as a communion of desire, powerfully joins the faithful to Christ, as is splendidly evident in the example of so many saints."

One of the difficulties today is the need to keep churches locked for a good part of the day because of the danger of the violation of the sacred space by thieves and vandals, and even by those who are engaged in the evil world of the occult.As is possible, there should be certain hours in the day when the parish church or chapel is sufficiently supervised, so that the faithful may come to make a visit to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament (n. 135).

Eucharistic adoration

The instruction reminds diocesan bishops and other ordinaries, for example, vicars general and major superiors of religious orders of men, that they have the responsibility to "foster eucharistic adoration, whether brief or prolonged or almost continuous, with the participation of the people."One of the great blessings which I have discovered in coming to serve the Archdiocese of St. Louis is the widespread practice of eucharistic exposition in most parishes for varied periods of time during each week.There are also a number of parishes in which there is continuous exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.Wherever there is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, countless graces are received by the parishioners and by those who are remembered in prayer before the Sacred Host.It is my hope that soon every parish will have exposition for, at least, some hours each week.

Through the Archbishop’s Committee on Eucharistic Renewal, founded by Cardinal Justin Rigali, when he was archbishop, the practice of eucharistic adoration in parishes has been promoted throughout the archdiocese.I have recently renamed the committee to express more directly its purpose.It is now known as the Archbishop’s Committee on Eucharistic Adoration.The committee has been and remains under the direction of Father Joseph M. Simon, pastor of Queen of All Saints Parish.

The Church provides in her liturgical books the norms for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.The prayer offered before the Sacred Host exposed in the monstrance should center around the mystery of the redemptive incarnation, the mystery of Christ’s life and of His abiding presence with us in the Church.The praying of the holy rosary is most fitting.Also, reading and meditation upon the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels, is especially fitting (n. 137).

When there is exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, there must be the constant presence of the faithful.It is never permitted to have the Sacred Host exposed in the monstrance without someone present to worship.The instruction reminds us: "Still, the Most Holy Sacrament, when exposed, must never be left unattended even for the briefest space of time" (n. 138).In parishes in which there is eucharistic exposition, members of the faithful, under the direction of their parish priest, make sure that there are adorers before the Blessed Sacrament at all times.Diocesan bishops are reminded that "the faithful have a right to visit the Most Holy Sacrament of the eucharist frequently for adoration, and to take part in adoration before the Most Holy Eucharist exposed at least at some time in the course of any given year" (n. 139).

The instruction highly recommends the practice of continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in cities and larger towns in a church or chapel designated for that purpose by the diocesan bishop.In a chapel or church, in which there is continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, it is recommended that Mass be celebrated daily.While Mass is celebrated, the eucharistic adoration is interrupted.The instruction also calls to mind the fittingness of consecrating the Sacred Host for continuous adoration at the Mass "immediately preceding the time of adoration" (n. 140).

Lastly, regarding eucharistic adoration, the instruction reminds diocesan bishops that they are to recognize and promote groups of the faithful who "form guilds or associations for the carrying out of adoration."If the guild or association is international, it must be established by the Holy Father’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (n. 141).At present, the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association, headquartered in Chicago, is seeking international recognition.If you are interested in its excellent work to promote eucharistic adoration, please consult its website: are blessed in the archdiocese to have a number of churches and chapels with continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.If you wish to know the churches and chapels with Eucharistic adoration in the Archdiocese, please consult:

Eucharistic Congresses and eucharistic processions

The instruction also discusses the practice of eucharistic congresses and eucharistic processions.The diocesan bishop is responsible to promote and regulate eucharistic processions (n. 142).It is especially fitting in the parishes of the archdiocese to have a procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) and at the time of the Forty Hours Devotion.The eucharistic procession is a most effective means of giving public witness to the great Mystery of the Faith, which is the Holy Eucharist.It is also powerful for the increase of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament on the part of all the faithful (n. 143).

If there is difficulty in holding a eucharistic procession, the instruction urges that the practice not be completely lost."Instead, new ways should be sought of holding them in today’s conditions: for example, at shrines, or in public gardens if the civil authority agrees" (n. 144).

Eucharistic congresses require a great deal of preparation but, when well prepared, are a wonderful public sign of faith in the Holy Eucharist and the cause of growth in faith and understanding of the eucharistic mystery.The archdiocese held its last eucharistic congress on June 15-16, 2001, marking the centennial of the National Eucharistic Congress held in St. Louis in 1901.I have heard many wonderful reports about it.The instruction asks that eucharistic congresses be carefully organized "so that Christ’s faithful may have the occasion to worship the sacred mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Son of God in a worthy manner, and that they may continually experience within themselves the fruits of the redemption" (n. 145). Given the amount of preparation which must precede a eucharistic congress, it would be good in the archdiocese to establish the date for our next eucharistic congress.


Private and public forms of eucharistic adoration and worship are at the heart of our Catholic faith.The beauty of the monstrances used over the centuries for the exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a sign of the profound religious meaning of eucharistic adoration.I think, for instance, of the monstrance in the magnificent painting of Raphael, "The Dispute of the Sacrament," found in the Vatican.

May the conclusion of the Year of the Eucharist be the occasion for us to renew our practice of eucharistic adoration.Through eucharistic adoration, we will strengthen our participation in the Holy Mass and our living in the company of our Eucharistic Lord throughout each day.

Finally, I ask you to pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and the bishops who will be meeting in synod at the Vatican, beginning on Sunday, Oct. 2 next, to promote faith in and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

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