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.

New evangelization and the Year of the Eucharist


On this past June 10, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ or, as it is popularly known, Corpus Christi, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II announced "a special Year of the Eucharist" (L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, June 16).The Year of the Eucharist begins on Sunday, Oct. 10, with the opening of the weeklong World Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.The Year of the Eucharistwill conclude with the next Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to take place from Oct. 2 to 29, 2005, in Vatican City, addressing the topic, "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."The subject of the Synod of Bishops, which is a meeting of representative bishops from throughout the world, is taken from words of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council regarding the holy Eucharist: "Taking part in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the source and summit of the Christian life, (the faithful) offer the Divine Victim to God and themselves along with It" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, No. 11).

Father Joseph M. Simon, pastor of Queen of All Saints Parish and chaplain of the Archbishop’s Committee on Eucharistic Adoration, is representing the archdiocese at the World Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara.After his return from the World Eucharistic Congress, a special report on the activities of the Congress will be presented in the St. Louis Review. I invite you to watch for it, as I am sure that it will be helpful to us in observing a year dedicated, in a special way, to love of our Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The preparations for the meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Holy Eucharist are already in progress.A preliminary document for study has been sent to all of the bishops of the world.Each bishop has been invited to submit his observations and to present special concerns.On the basis of my meetings thus far in the archdiocese and of correspondence which I have received, I am able to offer some suggestions of topics for discussion at the synod. Certainly, I welcome any observations which you may have, pertaining to the celebration of the Mass, worship of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass and eucharistic devotion.

Why a Year of the Eucharist?

Why has our Holy Father chosen now to announce a Year of the Eucharist? He provides an answer for us in the homily which he gave at the Corpus Christi Mass on June 10:

"Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, ‘began her pilgrim journey toward her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.’ Thinking precisely of this, I wanted to dedicate the first encyclical of the new millennium to the Eucharist and I am now pleased to announce a special Year of the Eucharist" (L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, June 16, 2004).

Our Holy Father makes reference to his encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia (On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church)," published on Holy Thursday, April 17, 2003. The encyclical letter is directly related to his apostolic letter "Novo Millennio ineunte (At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000)," which sets forth the Holy Father’s pastoral plan for the Church at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium.
The encyclical letter on the Eucharist makes it clear that the new evangelization, which is the goal of the pastoral plan for the new millennium, must begin with a rekindling of what our Holy Father calls "eucharistic amazement" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 6).The new evangelization, which may be simply described as teaching, celebrating and living our faith with the enthusiasm and energy of the first disciples, demands that we contemplate anew the face of Christ alive for us in the Church.There is no more privileged way, through which we have intimate communion with Christ, than the holy Eucharist.If we are to carry out the new evangelization, we must recapture the wonder of the first disciples when they witnessed that Christ had risen from the dead and is alive for us in the Church, especially through the sacraments.Our Holy Father writes:

"To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize Him wherever He manifests Himself, in His many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of His Body and His Blood.The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist: by Him she is fed and by Him she is enlightened.The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a ‘mystery of light.’Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: ‘Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him’ (Luke 24:31) (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 6).

Through the observance of the Year of the Eucharist, we will recover the wonder of the first disciples at the gift of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the wonder which was ours on the day of our First Holy Communion.

Participation in the Mass

The rekindling of "eucharistic amazement" comes first through our attentive and active participation in the celebration of the Mass.Throughout the Year of the Eucharist, let us strive to appreciate more fully the meaning of our share in the Lord’s sacrifice, our sacramental union with Him in the mystery of His suffering, dying and rising from the dead.Our Holy Father has presented us with some wonderful helps in coming to a deeper appreciation of each element of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, inspiring in us a holy wonder at the gift of Christ’s Body given up for us and His Blood poured out for us.I refer to his encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" and the instruction on the Eucharist, "Redemptionis Sacramentum," of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, published on March 25 of this year.The instruction complements the Holy Father’s encyclical letter.In fact, the Holy Father announces the instruction in the encyclical letter (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 52b).

In the encyclical letter, our Holy Father speaks about both "lights" and "shadows" in today’s eucharistic faith and practice.Among the lights, he mentions "a more conscious, active and fruitful participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar on the part of the faithful" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 10a).He also mentions the increase in eucharistic adoration.The Year of the Holy Eucharist is a time for us to examine our lives, in order to make sure that our participation in the holy Mass is "conscious, active and fruitful."

Among the "shadows" are the abandonment of eucharistic adoration in certain quarters of the Church and the abuses which have entered into the celebration of the Mass, words and actions contrary to what is prescribed in the "Rite of the Mass." The abuses lead to confusion among the faithful and introduce division in the Church.Our Holy Father comments on the situation:

"At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the eucharistic mystery.Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 10c).
Our Holy Father also mentions the confusion about "the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession," for the celebration of the holy Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 10c).Studies tell us that many Catholics, sometimes as much as 50 percent of Catholics, have a defective understanding of the holy Eucharist, especially the Real Presence of Christ.

With the help of the encyclical letter and the instruction, we will grow in our eucharistic faith and devotion, and we will dispel any "shadows" in our eucharistic practices.The Year of the Eucharist provides us with a time of grace to purify our celebrations of the Sacred Liturgy, so that they express more fully the mind of Christ. I urge parish priests, catechists in the Catholic schools and parish schools of religion, and all Catholics to draw upon the grace of this special year to grow in knowledge and love of the eucharistic mystery and to give witness, through teaching and example, to the truth of the holy Eucharist, which is at the heart of our Catholic faith.

Here I note two special celebrations during the Year of the Eucharist.On April 7-8, the archdiocese will sponsor the Gateway Liturgical Conference.Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will give the keynote address. A number of other experts in the Sacred Liturgy will given presentations throughout the conference.On April 9, the Archbishop’s Committee on Eucharistic Adoration will hold its annual conference.More information about these two important events will be forthcoming through the St. Louis Review.

May the Year of the Eucharist also be fruitful for the evangelization of the unbaptized, and the catechesis of the already-baptized who desire to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church and of baptized Catholics who were never catechized.May it inspire us and strengthen us to invite our numerous brothers and sisters of the Catholic faith, who do not regularly participate in Sunday Mass, to return to their spiritual family, the Church, to be nourished once again at the altar of Christ’s sacrifice. It is said that some 50 percent or more of Catholics do not assist at Sunday Mass regularly.Let us help them to rekindle their"eucharistic amazement," to reawaken their desire to be one with the Lord in the mystery of His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Eucharistic devotion

Eucharistic devotion is our way of expressing faith in the holy Eucharist and love of our eucharistic Lord throughout the day.It keeps before our minds and hearts the truth of the holy Eucharist, before which we kneel in adoration.

An excellent form of eucharistic devotion in the home is the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Consecration to the Sacred Heart.Devotion to the Sacred Heart is inspired by participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which we receive from the glorious pierced Heart of Christ the gift of His divine life.Devotion to the Sacred Heart is living in the company of our eucharistic Lord throughout the day.Each time we look upon the image of the Face and Heart of Christ, we are reminded of how much God loves us in Christ, and we are inspired to make reparation for our lack of love and to give ourselves anew to the more fervent love of God and one another.

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, including processions and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, flow naturally from our communion with Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and draw us to "a more conscious, active and fruitful participation" in the holy Mass.Our Holy Father underlines for us the great importance of eucharistic devotion in our lives:

"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 of wine remain — derives from the celebration of the sacrifice and is directed toward communion, both sacramental and spiritual" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 25a).

Our Holy Father quotes St. Alphonsus Liguori: "Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 25c).We will only meet the challenge of the new evangelization, the attainment of the high standard of everyday living in Christ, if we know Christ intimately, especially in the holy Eucharist.

The promotion of eucharistic devotion in the archdiocese is truly exemplary.We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to Cardinal Justin Rigali who, during his years as archbishop of St. Louis, did so much to promote eucharistic adoration, and to the Archbishop’s Committee on Eucharistic Adoration.Let us draw upon the grace of the Year of the Eucharist to sustain and develop our eucharistic devotion. It is my hope that soon all of our parishes will have regular times of eucharistic worship outside of Mass, and that all of us will enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus, His eucharistic Heart, in our homes.


Let us confide our observance of the Year of the Eucharist to the prayers of the Virgin Mary, whom our Holy Father has named "Woman of the Eucharist," especially under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.As she did at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary, our loving Mother, draws us to Christ that we may do all that He tells us (John 2:5).In her apparitions at Tepeyac Hill, in present-day Mexico City, our Lady of Guadalupe asked that a chapel be built in which she might lead pilgrims to the mercy of God, God the Son incarnate in her womb for the salvation of the world.Our Lady of Guadalupe, with tender love, will never fail to draw us to her Son in the holy Eucharist, so that we may know Him more fully, love Him more ardently, and serve Him more faithfully.

Stewardship: Putting God first in our lives


On this coming weekend, we will observe the fourth annual Stewardship Awareness Sunday in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.All parishes will recognize and celebrate the great works which have been accomplished in the Church in the archdiocese and far beyond, thanks to the parishioners who have generously shared with the Church God’s gifts of time, talent and treasure for the sake of their brothers and sisters. It also will be the occasion for parishioners throughout the archdiocese to consider the manifold gifts with which God has blessed them and to ask themselves whether they are returning a fair share of those gifts to God for the good of all in the Church.Our observance of Stewardship Awareness Sunday will rightly center around our participation in the holy Mass, in which we offer ourselves, one with Christ, in sacrificial love of God and neighbor.

Stewardship is often misunderstood in contemporary society and culture.It is easily understood superficially and wrongly as a response to the begging of the Church and other charities by giving up something of what is rightly ours.In truth, stewardship is the recognition of God in our lives, who is the source of all that we are and have.Recognizing God, we naturally place Him first in our lives and, therefore, place all of the many good gifts, which He has given us, at His service for the sake of others.Practicing stewardship, we acknowledge that the gifts which we enjoy are not ours to keep but to use in giving glory to God and in working for the salvation of the world.When we put God first in our lives, we consider His plan for us and our world in every decision we make, including budgetary and financial decisions.Putting God first in our lives means an active concern to be a co-worker with God in the care of the world and in the salvation of our fellow man.It means wanting to do God’s will in all things and to please Him by all our thoughts, words and actions.

Stewardship, an act of faith

Certainly, putting God first in our lives is an act of faith.It is the recognition of who we are before God and of our absolute dependence upon His providence.It is the acceptance of His law, especially the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, as the key to happiness in our lives.When we practice stewardship, we make an act of trust in God who always provides for our needs and for an abundance besides, so that we may share our goods with others.Stewardship is an act of faith, which brings us deepest joy and peace.In a worldly way of thinking, we believe that sacrificing of ourselves and our goods for others is a deprivation and will make us sad.How many people do we know who hoard their material goods and are selfish with their time and talents, thinking it will make them happy, and, as a result, are restless and profoundly unhappy?In fact, it is the generous giving of ourselves to God and others, even when it hurts, that brings us lasting joy and peace.

Stewardship, indeed, is a way of life.It is the way of faith, recognizing the truth about ourselves, which God reveals to us in Christ; the way of hope, trusting in God’s unfailing goodness in providing all that we need for ourselves and for the service of others; and the way oflove, putting ourselves and our goods at the service of God and others.Stewardship permeates every aspect of our lives, for we are called to do God’s will in all things without exception.

Stewardship in the Sacred Scriptures

The inspired Word of God helps us to understand more fully our mission as stewards of God’s manifold gifts.Stewardship is presented throughout the Bible, from the very first chapters, as the response of God’s children to the gift of His all-merciful love.In short, God’s Word reveals to us that we and our world have come from the hand of God and will return, on the Last Day, to His hand. Therefore, our use of material goods should prepare the day of the final accounting of our stewardship, which we will give when our Lord Jesus returns in His glory.Most especially, God will ask us to give an account of how we have placed our gifts at the service of the poor and needy, for whom our Lord has preferential love.

When God made man, He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as the stewards of His creation.In the Book of Genesis, we read: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15).The sin of Adam and Eve, original sin, was pride, refusing to recognize God as the source and end of all created goods and pretending to be God, instead of acting as God’s stewards.Pride led to disobedience and the abuse of the goods which God had placed in their care.As a result, the created world which, in the beginning, had been harmonious, suffered disorder and violence, which can only be remedied through humility before God and obedience to Him.

When our Lord led Moses and the chosen People into the Promised Land, he instructed Moses to take up a collection for the service of God, especially for His fitting worship (Exodus 25:1-2).In the Book of Deuteronomy, in which God sets forth His life-giving law for His people, He instructs them:

"Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths.They shall not appear empty-handed; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you" (Deuteronomy 16:16-17).

Gratitude to God flows from a generous heart, a heart after the Sacred Heart of Jesus, God the Son incarnate.
Through the moral law, God teaches us to recognize with humility the destiny of our material goods, namely the service of God and of the common good.Recall the words of Psalm 24:

"The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof/the world and those who dwell therein/for He has founded it upon the seas/and established it upon the rivers" (Psalm 24:1).

We also read in the Book of Sirach: "Let not your hand be extended to receive, but withdrawn when it is time to repay" (Sirach 4:31).When we understand our cooperation with God as His stewards, we also understand that failure to use God’s gifts in accord with His will is a serious sin.

Our Lord Jesus revealed the full truth regarding stewardship through His teaching and, most of all, through His passion and death. He taught His Apostles to be examples of stewardship for all, placing themselves and their goods at the service of anyone in need, without asking for any material return: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.You have received without pay, give without pay" (Matthew 10:8).At the conclusion of the Parable of the Farsighted Steward, Christ declared to all: "Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required." (Luke 12:48).

At the Last Supper and on Calvary, our Lord revealed most fully the truth about stewardship.At the same time, He won for us the grace to be good stewards, after His own true and generous heart.At the Last Supper, He washed the feet of the Apostles and commanded them to do the same, that is to empty themselves of themselves in order to be and live for God and for their neighbor.He anticipated the outpouring of His own life on the next day (Good Friday) in the Eucharistic Sacrifice which He celebrated for the first time at the Last Supper.By the institution of the Holy Eucharist, He provided that the entire fruit of the Redemption would be sacramentally present for all time in the Church.At the Last Supper, He anticipated the sharing in the fruit of the Redemption both for the Apostles and for all who would come to life in Him through Baptism down the Christian centuries.The following day on Mount Calvary, He gave the lesson of perfect stewardship, handing over Himself, obedience to God the Father, so that the all-merciful love of God, fully present in His Sacred Heart, might reach all hearts.

In the New Testament writings, we see that stewardship was at the heart of the life of the Church and of her individual members.The members of the first community of Christians at Jerusalem laid their goods at the feet of the Apostles, in order to provide for the good of all in the community (Acts 2:44-45).St. Paul took up a collection among the faithful of the Church in her already many locations, in order to provide for the needs of the Church at Jerusalem, which was suffering grave need (1 Corinthians 16:1-4).He remarks at the generosity of the Church in Macedonia, which was experiencing great poverty but, at the same time, desired to be generous in coming to the aid of the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-14). Reflecting upon the stewardship which is fundamental to our way of life as Christians, St. Paul teaches us:

"The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

The truth is that everyone has something to sacrifice for the good of all, and in making the sacrificefinds himself or herself greatly enriched.

The saints, model stewards

The saints are our great teachers in all things, including stewardship.Responding to God's inspired Word, they gave of themselves, from their substance, for love of God and neighbor.In the lives of the saints — men and women of all times and places, of all vocations and with diverse gifts — we learn what it means to put God first in our lives.

St. Francis of Assisi teaches us to sacrifice our best to give the most fitting worship possible to God and the most fitting care to those in need.In Chapter 6 of the Rule of 1223, he instructed the friars who had come to follow him:

"The friars are to appropriate nothing for themselves, neither a house, nor a place, nor anything else.As strangers and pilgrims (1 Pt 2:11) in this world, who serve God in poverty and humility, they should beg alms trustingly.And there is no reason why they should be ashamed, because God made himself poor for us in this world.This is the pinnacle of the most exalted poverty, and it is this, my dearest brothers, that has made you heirs and kings of the kingdom of heaven, poor in temporal things but rich in virtue.This should be your portion, because it leads to the land of the living" (Fahey, Benen, OFM, The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1964, p. 61).

The poverty of the Friars Minor of St. Francis is a special gift of God to the Church, for it is an example for all Christians of the detachment which they should have regarding earthly goods, in order to put them at the service of God and the disposal of all.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, was an heroic example of a Christian who gave His whole being in service of the apostolate, of carrying out God’s will as it was revealed to him.He has given us two powerful prayers for the grace to be good stewards of God’s gifts:

"Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding and my will.All that I have and cherish You have given me.I surrender it all to be guided by your will.Your grace and love are wealth enough for me.Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more" (Watkins, James D., ed.Manual of Prayers, Chicago: Midwest Theological Forum, 1996, p. 34).

"Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing Your will. Amen" (ibid., p. 321).

The good steward finds his reward, his joy and peace, in doing God’s will, in being the instrument by which God’s gift of merciful love reaches its proper destination for the good of all.

St. Thrse of Lisieux teaches us what she called her little way of spiritual perfection, the everyday way to draw closer to God and one another.It is the way which led her to heroic holiness of life.There are three steps in the little way.First, we must recognize who we are before God.We must acknowledge that we can do nothing without God’s help.Second, we must have total confidence in God’s merciful love toward us, revealed in the passion and death of our Lord Jesus.We must trust that God will provide all that we need and a surplus that we may come to the help of our brothers and sisters in need. Lastly, we must abandon ourselves to Divine Providence, giving our lives completely to the Lord in His service (Jamart, Francois, OCD, Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Thrse of Lisieux, New York: Alba House, 1961, pp. 27-30).So strong was the virtue of stewardship in St. Thrse that she announced, on the July 17 before her death on Sept. 30, 1897, that she would spend her heaven in doing good on earth:

"I feel that I’m about to enter into my rest.But I feel especially that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved as I love Him, of giving my little way to souls.If God answers my desire, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world.Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth" (St. Thrse of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1977, p. 102).

Because of her generous sharing of gifts, St. Thrse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, is a most popular and efficacious intercessor who showers down roses upon us as a sign of God’s blessing.

There are many other saints and blesseds who teach us stewardship in an eloquent and powerful manner.I think of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.In our reading of the lives of the saints, it will help us very much to consider how they placed their gifts into the hands of God, placed their hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for their love of God and their neighbor.

Stewardship today

So important is stewardship to the life of the individual Catholic and to the whole Church that the bishops of the United States have issued a pastoral letter on the subject, titled: "Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response."The document underlines the importance of stewardship for the continuation of the Church’s mission and for the salvation of the members of the Church.The pastoral letter was first published in 1992.Because of its importance, on the 10th anniversary of its publication, the U.S. bishops reissued it in a new edition.If you wish to read the entire pastoral letter, it can be found at you wish a printed copy of the pastoral letter, I will be happy to provide one for you.

The pastoral letter defines for us the qualities of one who is a true steward of God’s gifts. The steward is one who:

receives God’s gifts gratefully;

cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner;

shares them in justice and love with others; and

returns them with increase to the Lord (U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2002, p. 42).

Stewardship Awareness Sunday is our time to examine the qualities of stewardship in our lives and to rededicate ourselves to following Christ as good stewards of God’s manifold gifts.In prayer, especially participation in the holy Mass, we will receive the inspiration and strength to return to the Lord generous love for His all-generous love of us.


As we observe Stewardship Awareness Sunday, I encourage all the faithful of the archdiocese to open your hearts to the Gospel truth regarding stewardship.Please take full part in your parish’s activities for the observance of Stewardship Awareness Sunday.Make this coming Sunday a time to consider how you can be more generousin offering your time, your personal gifts and your goods to the Church for the service of all, especially our brothers and sisters in most need.

I take the occasion of Stewardship Awareness Sunday to thank you for the generous love of God and your brothers and sisters, which you manifest by your faithful stewardship of God’s gifts to you.In my Sept. 3 column I had occasion to reflect on the great work of stewardship, on the archdiocesan level, which is the Archdiocesan Development Appeal.I thank you again for your generous response to my appeal for your participation in the Church’s charitable, educational and missionary works.I also thank you for all of the sacrifices you make so that the mission of the Church may be carried out in our parishes with ever greater effectiveness. Through your stewardship, you are truly co-workers with God in the outpouring of His merciful love upon our world.

May we all grow in the practice of putting God first in our lives and so come to know God’s peace and joy in our daily living.Let us pray for the grace to be humble before God and to place all our confidence in His loving care of us.Let us, with complete trust in God, generously give of our substance for the glory of God and the good of all.He will never fail us.

May God bless all of our work of stewardship and make it fruitful for the Church.May it be especially fruitful for those who most depend upon us: the children, the infirm and the needy.May doing God’s will generously be the source of all our joy.

St. Thrse of Lisieux

Pastoral Letter on Civic Responsibility

During the time of my pilgrimage to Rome to receive the sacred pallium, at the end of June and beginning of July, I promised to write a pastoral letter to assist the faithful in the archdiocese in exercising their civic responsibility, especially the duty to vote, in accord with the moral law. A number of factors have kept me from finishing the writing of the pastoral letter until now. In the meantime, a number of reports in the secular media have raised serious questions about the Church’s teaching in the matter.Some of the reports have generated confusion and frustration.Be assured that I have wanted to complete the letter as soon as possible, in order to present clearly the Church’s teaching and to clear up confusion.I am happy to report to you that the pastoral letter should be issued on this coming Oct. 1, the memorial of St. Thrse of Lisieux, the Little Flower.

When the pastoral letter is completed, it will first be published in the St. Louis Review.Aids for the reading and study of the pastoral letter also will be provided.

Please pray for me as I bring to completion the writing of the pastoral letter, so that it may truly serve well the consciences of the faithful in the archdiocese.Please pray that the pastoral letter may contribute to the building up of the life of our society, in accord with God’s law.

St. Thrse of Lisieux

I entered the minor seminary in La Crosse, Wis., around this time in 1962. At the very beginning of the academic year, the whole student body made a silent retreat. It was the first time for me to make a retreat; I still remember with joy so many details of the retreat.The spiritual director of the seminary had suggested that we choose a book of spiritual reading for the time of the retreat and recommended to me the autobiography of St. Thrse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, titled "Story of a Soul."It was an excellent recommendation. From that first reading of the life of St. Thrse, I have always felt a closeness to her.Her "little way" of spiritual perfection has guided me very much over the years.Before she died, she expressed the conviction that she would spend her eternity in doing good on earth.She certainly has helped me greatly over the years, especially during times of challenge or discouragement.

During a certain period of time, I had taken my closeness to the Little Flower for granted and failed to reflect upon her "little way" and call upon her help. In 1989, I was called to Rome to work in the Apostolic Signatura, a tribunal of our Holy Father for the vigilance over the administration of justice in the Church and for the resolution of administrative conflicts in the Church.It was challenging work which consumed most of my time and energy.It was quite a change for me because, even though I had worked in the La Crosse Diocesan Curia for Bishop John Paul, I was also quite involved with parish work at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse. It was not possible for me to do parish work in my new position.At the beginning of my service at the Apostolic Signatura, I was sensing very much the challenge of the work and was missing the Diocese of LaCrosse.

By God’s providence, the Jesuit father who was my spiritual director suggested that I read an excellent book on the spirituality of St. Thrse of Lisieux.It was "The Hidden Face: A Study of St. Thrse of Lisieux" by Ida Friederike Grres.The book was out of print, but my spiritual director lent me his photocopy.The book, by the way, is now back in print and is published by Ignatius Press.When I began to read the book, I immediately recognized what I had been missing spiritually by my neglect of St. Thrse. Since the time of my reintroduction to the Little Flower, I cannot tell enough how much she has helped me.In the challenge of a new assignment, she helped me to see the very challenge as a means of sanctification, in accord with her "little way" of spiritual perfection, which is so deeply rooted in Christ and in the Gospel.

St. Thrse’s "little way" continues to help me in understanding God’s will in my life and in doing what God asks of me. I want to continue to grow in my understanding and practice of the "science of divine love," which she taught so well.In fact, on Oct. 19, 1997, during the centenary of her death, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, declared the Little Flower a doctor of the Church.

Her ‘little way’

St. Thrse described her spiritual teaching as the "little way."It was inspired by her devout reading of the holy Scriptures, especially the passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: "As one whom a mother caresses, so will I comfort you; you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you" (Isaiah 66:12-13).Having discovered these inspired words, she exclaimed: "Ah! never did words more tender and more melodious come to give joy to my soul.The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus!And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more" (Story of a Soul, 3rd ed., Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1996, p. 208).St. Thrse used the metaphor of the elevator to describe the means of having communion with God, which she desired so intensely.

The passage from the prophet Isaiah captures the heart of the "little way."It can be described with three words: humility, confidence and abandonment.First of all, following the "little way" or the way of spiritual childhood, we recognize that we are nothing before God, that we can attribute nothing of the goodness in us or what we do to ourselves.Rather,it is all owed to God. It is His gift to us. Before God, we are truly as the child whom the mother caresses.This is the practice of the virtue of humility.

Secondly, following the "little way" means having complete confidence in God’s loving care.While we recognize that we are nothing without God and the help of His grace, at the same time we trust God to supply all that we need and an abundance besides, so that we can work with God to supply the needs of others.No matter how great the trial or test, for example, St. Thrse’s "Night of Faith" during the last 18 months of her life, we are confident of God’s never-failing love for us in Jesus Christ, Godmade man, who poured out His life for us.The Little Flower’s last words, in the great agony of the last stages of tuberculosis, were: "My God ... I love You! ..." (St. Thrse of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1977, p. 206).

Finally, the way of spiritual childhood teaches us to abandon ourselves completely to God in love.Experiencing God’s merciful love for us, we give ourselves completely in love of Him and of our neighbor.St. Thrse expressed her abandonment in a most striking way in her "Act of Oblation to Merciful Love."It was her consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.The love which filled the Little Flower is fully expressed in one of her last conversations.On July 17, 1897, she stated: "I feel that I am about to enter into my rest.But I feel especially that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved, as I love Him, of giving my little way to souls.If God answers my desire, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world.Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth" (Her Last Conversations, p. 102).

It is no wonder that so many turn to the intercession of St. Thrse in times of trouble, confident of God’s help. From my own life, I am a witness to the fulfillment of the Little Flower’s dying wish; she certainly is spending her heaven in doing good for countless souls, including myself.

The Film ‘Thrse’

On this coming Oct. 1, the feast day of St. Thrse, a full-length movie of her life, which highlights her spiritual teaching, will be released in our nation by Luke Films.Leonardo Defilippis, a Shakespearean actor and founder of St. Luke Productions, of which Luke Films is a subsidiary, has produced the film, which is titled simply "Thrse."I have been blessed to see some parts of the film and have been deeply impressed by it. I believe that it will help many to come to know the Little Flower and to benefit, as I have, from her "little way."Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago, after viewing the entire film, commented:

"Thrse will nourish people’s faith and give an understanding of holiness in the Catholic Church. ...It’s a mirror of what is in us. I am impressed with Luke Films’ vision and understanding of the importance of a Catholic voice within the entertainment industry. ...I encourage Catholics to support Thrse in any way they can."

Defilippis, whom I have been privileged to know for several years, hopes that the release of "Thrse" will inspire a new birth of Catholic filmmaking for a new evangelization of our culture.Certainly, there is presently a dearth of good Catholic films.There is much that the Church can contribute to society through the effective use of the media of the cinema, and Defilippis has shown himself to be a worthy servant of the Church in the apostolate of Catholic cinema.

Because of the spiritual good which, I believe, the movie "Thrse" can accomplish for many, it is my fervent hope that, on Oct. 1, it can premier also in St. Louis and that many of the faithful of the archdiocese will be able to see the film.A number of the staff in the Archdiocesan Curia are working with me to assist parishes, parish schools of religion and our Catholic schools to request that the film be shown in St. Louis on Oct. 1 and to make arrangements for parish and school groups to view the film.

What can I do?

What can you do to help bring the film Thrse to St. Louis?First of all, please pray for God’s blessing upon the film, so that it may attain its high purpose of presenting the Little Flower and her "little way" to our society and culture.

Next, it is important that as many of the faithful as possible express their desire to have the film premier in St. Louis.This can be done in one of three ways.It can be done electronically by visiting the Web site of the film at When visiting the Web site, click "see Thrse" in the upper righthand corner, in order to request that the film be shown in St. Louis.

A second way to request that the film be shown here on Oct. 1, is to send a postcard with your name and address to Luke Films, P.O. Box 761, Beaverton, OR 97075; or call Luke Films at (800) 683-2998, asking that "Thrse" come to St. Louis. It is important that you write or call at the earliest possible time.

Third, you can contact the Operations Department of Luke Films to obtain group sale tickets by sending an e-mail message to them:

Finally, Luke Films is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, devoted to the apostolates of the Church.The production of the film "Thrse," which meets the standards of a major motion picture release and includes a touching original motion picture soundtrack,has been financed through the gifts of those convinced of the importance of having the life and message of the Little Flower better known in our culture.Your financial support is also needed.Any financial help which you wish to offer should be forwarded to Luke Films Inc., P.O. Box 761, Beaverton, OR 97075.

Please do what you can to help bring the movie "Thrse" to St. Louis and the whole archdiocese. If you have any questions about how best to promote the film, please contact Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman, FSGM, at the Catholic Center, (314) 633-2222.


We often complain about the poor or totally lacking moral quality of television and movies today.The film "Thrse" is a truly Catholic film, presenting who we are before God and in His Church and produced according to the best standards of the filmmaking industry.By our support of "Thrse," we will not only make her spiritual teaching better known in our society, contributing to the new evangelization of our culture, but we also will encourage the production of similar Catholic films for the work of the new evangelization.

St. Thrse of Lisieux understood that her vocation and mission in life was to love God and her neighbor with all her being. She is our great teacher of love of God and neighbor, of the "science of divine love."I close with words from her autobiography:

"Charity gave me the key to my vocation.I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love.I understood it was love alone that made the Church’s members act, that if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood.I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places ... in a word, that it was eternal.

"Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love ... my vocation, at last I have found it. ... My vocation is love!" (Story of a Soul, p. 194).

2004 Archdiocesan Development Appeal


I am happy to announce to you the successful completion of the 2004 Archdiocesan Development Appeal.Thanks to the generosity of many of the faithful in the Archdiocese, the Appeal has exceeded its goal of $11.6 million.To all who contributed to the 2004 appeal, I express heartfelt gratitude.To my expression of gratitude, I add the thanks of the many individuals and families served by our archdiocesan schools, Catholic Charities and other apostolates, which are funded through the ADA.By meeting the goal of the 2004 appeal, the archdiocese will be able to accomplish a remarkable amount of good in the coming fiscal year.Just this past Sunday night, I celebrated the Holy Mass for the Hispanic Apostolate at Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann on the occasion of its first anniversary.I was reminded of how much the apostolate on their behalf depends upon a generous response to the ADA.

Too easily, an important work of archdiocesan stewardship, like the ADA, can be taken for granted.Filled with gratitude for the completion of the appeal, let us take some time to reflect upon its nature, history and those whom it serves.May our reflection inspire in us a continued commitment to the essential work of the ADA.

Gospel mandate

The inspiration for the appeal comes from the teaching and example of our Savior.He came into the world, sent by God the Father, "to preach good news to the poor ... to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed ... " (Luke 4:18).Throughout His public ministry, He forgave sins and cared for all who were in need.At the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and gave the command (mandatum) to them:

"You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you" (John 13:13-15).

By the washing of the feet, Jesus manifested the universality of His love. His love without bounds found its fullest expression in his institution of the Holy Eucharist after washing the Apostles’ feet.At the Last Supper, our Savior gave us His greatest gift, the Holy Eucharist in which the giving up of His Body and the outpouring of His Blood on Calvary is made present for men and women of every time and place, until our Lord returns in glory.

Our participation in the ADA is a direct response to the mandate of Christ, "that you also should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15).It is a fundamental expression of our communion with Christ’s Sacrifice in the Holy Eucharist, offering ourselves, with Him, in love of God and of our neighbor, especially our neighbor who is in most need.

The theme of the 2004 appeal, taken from the last discourse of our Lord after the washing of the feet, has been: "Love One Another" (John 13:34). It has reminded us of the foundation of our life in Christ, the grace of self-sacrificing love.Let us all thank God that so many in the archdiocese have responded faithfully and generously to Christ’s command of love through the ADA.

History of the ADA

By our generous response to the ADA, we follow in the footsteps of our predecessors in the archdiocese.The appeal has been an essential part of the life of the Church in the archdiocese for more than 50 years.

The appeal had its beginning in 1949, when Cardinal Joseph Ritter announced the Easter Appeal to provide funding for senior priests.In 1954, Cardinal Ritter expanded the goal of the appeal, in order that the archdiocese might establish new parishes and Catholic high schools in the areas of the archdiocese which were experiencing rapid growth in Catholic population.Many of the churches and schools which serve us today were built with the help of funds raised by the Easter Appeal which, with its expanded goal, Cardinal Ritter renamed the Archdiocesan Expansion Fund.

In 1972, Cardinal John Carberry gave the appeal yet another new name, the name by which we know it today: the Archdiocesan Development Appeal.Although the debts on the new buildings of the Archdiocesan Expansion Fund were being paid in full, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council had, in the meantime, called for the renewal of the Church’s mission, requiring the establishment of new offices, agencies and apostolates.The Archdiocesan Development Fund began to serve the new needs of the archdiocese in the period after the Council.It was Cardinal Carberry who established the advisory council for the appeal and called upon Joseph H. Vatterott to serve as general chairman.

Archbishop John May further expanded the appeal, inaugurating a matching gift program, by which parishioners seek gifts from the companies in which they work to match their own gifts to the appeal.He also began the Associates of the Archbishop, who have raised more than $4,300,000 in the 2004 Appeal.

Archbishop, now Cardinal, Justin Rigali worked tirelessly for the appeal during his years of service in the archdiocese.He inaugurated the Perpetual Light Society, responding to the desire of the faithful to give a gift which gives for all time.After only a few years of existence, the Perpetual Light Society already has more than $3 million in assets, which permits it to give significant help to those in most need.

The ADA today

Which brings us to today. During my first seven months of service in the office of archbishop, I have been deeply impressed with the ADA, especially with the quality of those who lead it and the generosity of the faithful who contribute to it.It has not surprised me to learn that, according to a study done in 1999, the Archdiocese of St. Louis was in the top five dioceses in the United States for total goal and total pledges in its annual appeal.What is more, of all the dioceses, the archdiocese had the lowest expenses in conducting the appeal.If we could factor in the cost of the hours given so generously by volunteers as a gift to the appeal, the expenses in conducting it would be even lower.

Most important of all, according to the same study, no other diocese had a higher percentage of the faithful participating in its annual appeal.In 1999, 53 percent of the faithful of the archdiocese participated in the ADA.

The next closest diocese had only 39 percent of the faithful participating. The Archdiocese of St. Louis also had triple the amount of major gifts in comparison to the next closest diocese, and more matching gifts than all of the other dioceses combined.I mention all of the above to underline the strong commitment of self-sacrificing service among the faithful of the archdiocese.

Results of the 2004 appeal

The appeal has raised more than $11,750,000 to be distributed to schools, agencies and apostolates of the archdiocese. This is $150,000 over the goal of $11,600,000.The $150,000 over the goal goes to the Parish School Assistance program, which helps to fund the salaries of the teachers in our elementary schools.
In addition to the $11,750,000, estate gifts in the amount of $117,000 were made to the Perpetual Light Society, an endowment fund which, as I mentioned above, will provide additional financial help to the ADA in perpetuity.This year, it has already provided $100,000 to the appeal.The Perpetual Light Society is a group of dedicated Catholics who support the appeal through a will/trust bequest or planned gift, extending permanently their giving to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.In giving thanks for God’s blessing upon the 2004 Appeal, let us pray in a special way for the members of the Perpetual Light Society, living and deceased.

Also, $567,000 has been promised in matching gifts.The companies which are matching gifts of donors to the appeal will donate the matching gift to the Catholic schools indicated by the donors.I expect the amount of these gifts to increase throughout the year as the faithful of the archdiocese complete their pledges and designate additional matching gifts.

Works of the ADA

Having just described the results of the appeal in terms of funds raised through it, I now summarize its ultimate result, namely the services provided to our brothers and sisters.Those results are works of Catholic education, social justice and the apostolate, in general.Your generosity to the ADA makes possible the continuation of the oldest and largest school system in Missouri and the seventh-largest Catholic high-school system in the nation.About 55,000 students are enrolled in our Catholic elementary and secondary schools. An additional 22,000 students are enrolled in the parish schools of religion, and about 10,000 adults are enrolled in programs of adult religious education.Your generosity to the ADA also makes possible the many human services provided by Catholic Charities of the archdiocese and the other archdiocesan outreach programs.The archdiocese is the largest private provider of such services in Missouri.

The ADA has a most special impact on the young people of the archdiocese.A sound education is essential to a young person’s growth and development.Almost 40 percent of the funds raised through the 2004 appeal will help to fund educational programs, capital improvements for schools and teachers’ salaries.Archdiocesan elementary and high schools receive direct support.In addition to the direct support, $800,000 will be set aside and restricted to helping parishes to pay teachers’ salaries, and an additional $110,000 will be restricted for teachers’ professional growth.

The ADA helps in the defense of the rights of the unborn, our very youngest brothers and sisters who depend upon us totally.Birthright, the Vitae Society and other pro-life programs receive grants.The ADA also helps to fund the services of the Office of Youth Ministry and the Catholic Youth Council.The St. Charles Lwanga Center will receive a grant to provide Christian spiritual formation and leadership development within the African-American community.The ADA provides help to our college students through the funding of the Newman Apostolate.

The Church must give her first attention to the family which is the first cell of the life of society.Our works on behalf of children and young people must begin with care for their families.The Office of Laity and Family Life will receive a grant to minister to those whom God is calling to the married life and who are preparing to enter Christian marriage.Funds will also be given to the archdiocesan program of Natural Family Planning, especially to educate couples to be teachers of Natural Family Planning to other couples.

The ADA provides resources to a wide variety of organizations working for social justice and giving direct assistance to those who find themselves in any trouble.I have already noted our commitment to safeguarding the life of the unborn and of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Catholic Charities of the archdiocese will receive $1,321,000 in unrestricted donations to meet the various urgent needs of our brothers and sisters in society.The Catholic Immigration Law Project and the Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, programs of Catholic Charities, will also receive grants.Doorways, an interfaith AIDS outreach program, and Catholic Aids Outreach will both benefit from the appeal, and the St. Vincent de Paul Criminal Justice Ministry will receive assistance in their work within the criminal justice system.Food Pantries, Catholic Deaf Ministry and the Hispanic Apostolate, which I noted above, will all benefit from your generosity.

Two special grants

In addition to the regular grants, two special grants have been made this year because of your generosity.

First, to honor of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s long-term service to the community of St. Louis, the ADA has set up a special grant of $100,000 to benefit Project Rachel, a healing ministry of the Church for those who have been involved in an abortion. Project Rachel is a most effective ministry which has helped many in the St. Louis area.

Secondly, I am pleased to announce now that the St. Patrick Center is to receive a $25,000 grant from the ADA for its Media Resource Center.The St. Patrick Center is one of the 12 agencies of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.In accord with its mission statement, the St. Patrick Center "provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to effect permanent, positive changes in their lives."The center reaches out to the homeless as treasured brothers and sisters, when many in society prefer to ignore their existence.With the Media Resource Center, the staff at the St. Patrick Center will be able to reach more people with the message that "each of us can make a difference in the lives of those struggling with homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse."

Giving is gift

It is not just parishes and apostolates of the archdiocese which will benefit from the ADA.Those of us who have contributed from our means to support the appeal receive from our gift much more than we give.The Book of Sirach tells us:

"The offering of a righteous man anoints the altar, and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High. The sacrifice of a righteous man is acceptable, and the memory of it will not be forgotten. Glorify the Lord generously, and do not stint the first fruits of your hands. With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness. Give to the Most High as he has given, and as generously as your hand has found. For the Lord is the one who repays and he will repay you sevenfold" (Sirach 35:6-11).

The Sacred Author refers to the deep joy and peace which God grants to those who cooperate generously with Him in providing for the good of all.It is God who gives us every good gift, so that we may be generous in responding to the needs of all.When we are good stewards of God’s gifts, according to His plans, we are not burdened but we receive the greatest gift, His joy and peace.

In the Gospel for this coming Sunday’s Mass, our Lord urges us to renounce all our goods, in order that we may be His disciples.In other words, He asks us to recognize Him as the source of our manifold goods and to place them at the service of His self-sacrificing love.Our obedient response to Christ’s urging, by giving generously to ADA, provides loving care to our brothers and sisters, Catholic and non-Catholic, who are experiencing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.


The work of the ADA depends upon the commitment of many faithful in the archdiocese. First of all, I express my deepest gratitude to the priests of the archdiocese, especially the pastors of our parishes.Without their strong leadership and steadfast dedication, the ADA would not be possible.

The parish chairpersons and parish volunteers put the ADA into action.Through the appeal, parishioners ask fellow parishioners to be generous in responding to the needs of the Church and community.The strong witness given by the parish chairpersons and volunteers invites a most generous response on the part of all.

The clergy and lay deanery chairpersons and vice chairpersons help the parishes of the archdiocese to organize and carry out the work of the ADA.They are my means of communicating with all of the parishes, in order that we may be of one mind and heart in making the appeal.

The staff of our agencies and apostolates also makes an important contribution to the appeal. The directors lead the Employee Participation Program of the ADA.

The directors and staff are they who make sure that the funds bear the greatest possible fruit for those who are in need.

I am profoundly grateful to Frank Cognata, chief development officer, and the staff of the Archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, who spare no effort to be sure that the message of the appeal reaches all of the faithful in the archdiocese.Through their highly competent and generous service to the Church, they help me, by means of the appeal, to provide the temporal goods necessary to carry out the Church’s mission in the archdiocese.

I offer my sincerest thanks to the volunteers who are the members of the Council of the ADA, and, in particular, to their chairman, Mark Gietl. From my first days in the archdiocese, I have been deeply impressed with these most dedicated men and women.I can tell you that they are tireless in putting their excellent knowledge and experience at the service of the appeal for the good of the whole Church in the archdiocese. May God reward them.

Finally and most importantly, I thank you, the faithful of the archdiocese, who have generously made the sacrifices necessary to bring Christ to all who hunger for the sign of God’s merciful love in their lives.With Christ, you offer yourselves in self-sacrificing love for the sake of those in most need.The Lord will repay you sevenfold, as the inspired text of the Book of Sirach teaches us.May God bless you and your homes.

Relief for victims, prayers for our seminarians, and St. Louis


There are always so many subjects about which I would like to write to you. Usually, I try to limit myself to one topic a week, hoping that eventually I will be able to communicate with you about all matters of our mutual Christian concern.This week, however, I want to address three timely subjects, about which, I trust, you would like to hear a word from me.

Relief for victims of Hurricane Charley

All of us have been deeply concerned about the loss of life and total destruction of homes, schoolsand businesses, which have been caused by Hurricane Charley, especially in the state of Florida.In addition to the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley, the Tropical Storm Bonnie struck the Florida Panhandle just under 36 hours prior to the time when Hurricane Charley struck.The last time that two such violent storms have, at once, devastated the state of Florida was in 1906.

At least 25 people have lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Charley.At present, there is no accurate count of the many who were injured. Many still find themselves homeless, and many are living in damaged homes or with family and friends.The eating of spoiled food and drinking of contaminated water is a serious danger to the health of individuals and families returning to their homes.Shattered windows and doors also leave the residents subject to the mosquitoes which carry diseases like the West Nile virus.The lack of electricity and the oppressive heat are a further source of difficulty in addressing the emergency situation.

The calamity of Hurricane Charley has especially affected the elderly and migrant workers, many of whom have lost all of their earthly possessions. What is more, the significant number of people without insurance, has no source of help apart from the charity of others.Bishop Michael P. Driscoll of Boise and liaison for the U.S. bishops to Catholic Charities USA, in his letter to all bishops of the United States, dated Aug. 18, included the following words from the clinical director of Catholic Charities at Fort Myers, Fla:

"We have never seen anything like this ... Because of our high concentration of elderly people and migrant workers who have lost everything and have no insurance, our immediate concern is to assess both physical and emotional needs, especially looking for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder."
It is critical that staff and volunteers be able to reach all of the victims, especially the poorest among them, before they give way to the temptation of abandoning hope.

As we prepare for the beginning of a new school year, our thoughts also turn to the families with children in the affected region. We can only imagine the worries, of parents and children alike, concerning the condition of the schools and about the means of providing for the basic needs ofchildren as school starts. We want to help the children, as best as possible, to approach the new school year with enthusiasm and confidence.

The Catholic bishops of the state of Florida have written to all Catholic bishops of our nation, asking that an appeal be made to the faithful in the United States for the assistance of their prayers and material goods on behalf of their suffering brothers and sisters in Florida and the neighboring states.Catholic Charities USA has established a special fund to assist the bishops of Florida in caring for the many needs of the faithful and of all residents.The Hurricane Charley Relief Fund, in accord with the motto of Catholic Charities USA,
"Providing Help, Creating Hope," will make it possible for the Catholic Church in Florida to respond to those in most need, giving them hope because they know that their brothers and sisters from throughout the nation are coming to their aid. Catholic Charities USA will work with the diocesan Catholic Charities agencies in helping the people of Florida and of the neighboring states, who have suffered so much from Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie.The help provided is immediate material assistance but also long-term assistance in arranging housing for the homeless and in offering the variety of counseling needed by those who have suffered so great a hardship.

On this coming weekend, all of the parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will take up a special collection for the relief of those who are suffering in Florida and the neighboring states because of the devastation of Hurricane Charley. The funds collected will go the Hurricane Charley Relief Fund of Catholic Charities USA.I ask all of the faithful to make a sacrifice, in order to assist our brothers and sisters who are in dire need.If all make some sacrifice, help will come to all in need.You may make your contribution through the collection taken in your parish or you may send it directly to me, indicating clearly that it is for the Hurricane Charley Relief Fund.Bishop Driscoll, in his same letter of Aug. 18 to the U.S. bishops, underlined the standard practice of Catholic Charities in making sure that the help which we provide truly reaches those in need:

"I write now to assure you that the funds raised by the national collection ... for Hurricane Relief in Florida will be distributed to help those who need it most."

Please be generous in your sacrifice for the relief of the victims of Hurricane Charley.May the celebration of the Sunday Mass, in which we experience directly the universal charity of Christ, offering His life for all men and women of every time and place, inspire us in using the many good gifts which God has entrusted to us for the good of all, especially our suffering brothers and sisters in Florida.

Our seminarians

On Aug. 23, I had the great joy to celebrate Solemn Evening Prayer with the seminarians from the archdiocese at the St. Vincent de Paul Chapel of the Rigali Center. A special source of joy for me and for all of the seminarians was the presence of 10 new seminarians for the archdiocese.Eight of them have begun their college seminary formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.Two of them have already obtained their university degrees and will be taking some additional courses in philosophy and Latin, and will be receiving initial seminary formation, in order to prepare themselves for entrance into the program of theological formation. Most of them had participated in a retreat for those interested in the seminary which I led this past February at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.I have begun to know them through the retreat and can attest that they are fine young men with a fervent desire to respond to God’s call in their lives.

Of course, it was also good to pray and visit with the returning seminarians whom I have gotten to know a bit during the first eight months of my service as archbishop of St. Louis. We are blessed to have excellent candidates for priestly ordination and an excellent seminary in which to prepare them for priestly ordination.Truly, I enjoy any occasion when I can be with our seminarians.As I have become more at home in the archdiocese, I want to spend some time each week at the seminary, in order to fulfill better my most serious responsibility to provide priests for all of the faithful of the archdiocese.

As you will not find it difficult to imagine, there are many challenges today for a young man who is hearing the call to the priesthood.There are our own weaknesses which hinder us in being completely generous with God, but there are also so many influences from outside, especially our highly secularized culture, which discourage and cause difficulties for a seminarian.Our seminarians count upon the help of your prayers and your support.Please pray every day for our seminarians that they will persevere in doing God’s will in their lives.

Also, if you have a seminarian from your parish or know a seminarian, do not fail to assure them of your prayers and to tell them about the great hope which they offer for the future of the Church in the archdiocese.

In writing to you about our seminarians, of whom I am very proud, I must also ask you to pray daily for an increase in the number of young men from the archdiocese who respond to the call to the priesthood for the service of the faithful in the archdiocese and in the missions.This past May, I ordained Father Timothy J. Henderson to the priesthood for the service of the archdiocese. This coming May, God willing, I will ordain Deacon Gerald Blessing to the priesthood for our archdiocese. Given the size of the archdiocese, there should be many more ordinations each year.I know that God is calling young men from throughout the archdiocese to serve the Church in the person of His Son, the Good Shepherd.Please continue to pray with me for those whom God is calling, that they will have the courage and generosity to enter the seminary.Also, please do not hesitate to invite young men in your families and in your parishes, in whom you see the signs of a priestly vocation, to consider whether God may be calling them to the ordained priesthood. Seminarians frequently tell me how the invitation to consider the priesthood from their parents, family members, parish priests, fellow parishioners, schoolmates and friends has helped them to hear God’s call in their lives.

We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to Father Michael T. Butler, director of the Office of Vocations, for his tireless work on behalf of our seminarians and those who are considering the seminary.Father Butler, together with those who assist him, carries out the apostolate of priestly vocations with great energy and
creativity.Please do not hesitate to contact him with any questions which you have about priestly vocations in the archdiocese at (314) 792-6460.

In the name of us all, I thank Msgr. Theodore L. Wojcicki, rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary; Father Timothy P. Cronin, director of Cardinal Glennon College Seminary; and all of the faculty and staff of our archdiocesan seminary for their outstanding work of seminary education and formation. In my first months of service to the archdiocese, I have been deeply impressed with the work of our seminary administration, faculty and staff.Please keep them in your prayers.

In writing about our seminarians and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, I also ask you to be generous in support of the seminary.From my previous experience as bishop, I know what a great gift it is for the archdiocese to have its own seminary.When I was informed of my transfer to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, among my first thoughts was the blessing of our seminary.Having our own seminary is a major commitment on the part of the archdiocese, including the preparation of good faculty and the provision of fitting facilities and necessary funds.In the tithing of your material gifts and in your last will, please remember Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

Our patronal feast

On Aug. 25, the archdiocese celebrated the Solemnity of St. Louis of France, the saint after which our see city and archdiocese are named, and one of the patron saints, together with St. Vincent de Paul and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, of the archdiocese. I was privileged to celebrate the Mass for the Solemnity at the Old Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Louis King of France.The Mass was celebrated in French, recalling the irreplaceable service of the people of the nation of France in bringing the Catholic faith to our region.I express my deepest gratitude to the Societe Franaise de St. Louis and the St. Louis-Lyon Sister Cities Organization for their work in preparing for the solemn celebration of the Mass to honor St. Louis of France for his heroic sanctity and to invoke his intercession on behalf of all of the faithful of the Archdiocese.

St. Louis IX of France was born on April 25, 1214, to King Louis VIII and his saintly wife Blanche, daughter of Alfonso of Castile and Eleanor of England. Queen Blanche carefully educated her son in the human and Christian virtues.St. Louis was only 12 when his father died.Queen Blanche was regent for her son until he reached the age of majority.

During the time of his regency and his reign, there was much civil strife because of ambitious barons and also threats from outside the kingdom of France.What is more, St. Louis responded generously to the call of the Holy Father to lead crusades to save the Holy Land from the control of non-Christian forces. In all of the strife which he had to confront as a Christian civic leader, St. Louis strove for peace, above all, by seeking the common good of all of his subjects. His mother had once said to him: "I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should ever commit a mortal sin" (Butler’s Lives of the Saints, 1956 edition, p. 394). St. Louis grew up with a horror of sin and the harm which it causes to others.He never forgot the strong lesson which his good mother taught to him.

He loved the Church, was fervent in his daily prayers and welcomed any occasion to speak with priests about his faith and his concerns for the people of the Kingdom.For example, he is known to have invited St. Thomas Aquinas and other religious leaders to his palace, so that he might benefit from their counsel.The good king was especially known for the purity of his thoughts, speech and actions.

St. Louis IX married Queen Eleanor, the daughter of the count of Provence, and God blessed them with a most happy marital union, crowned with the birth of 11 children, five sons and six daughters. Together with his wife, he provided his children with an outstanding upbringing in the Catholic faith. His last instructions to his children before his death are a sterling example of Christian parenting.

St. Louis was generous in his support of Catholic institutions for the good of all the people.In recognition of his generous aid, the patriarch of Constantinople presented the Crown of Thorns of our Lord to him in 1239.The present was a fitting expression of gratitude to a monarch with such strong and generous Catholic faith and practice.St. Louis had the beautiful Ste. Chapelle built as a worthy home for so important a relic. Many of the representations of St. Louis show him holding a pillow with the Crown of Thorns, his head bent in prayer.

St. Louis also provided for the foundation of the University of Paris, at first a theological institute, popularly known as the Sorbonne after Master Robert de Sorbon, a priest and learned professor who was a confessor of the saint and his good friend.St. Louis also founded a hospital in Paris for the blind and made many other provisions for those in most need.He provided meals daily for the poor near his own palace and often personally served them.

His love for our Savior was heroically manifested by his leading of crusades to safeguard the places sacred to our faith in the Holy Land. In 1270, at the age of 55 and weak from his hard work, illnesses and austerity of life, St. Louis set out on another crusade.St. Louis was stricken with typhus and died on Aug. 25, 1270, expressing in prayer his trust in God’s mercy.
There is much more which I could write about the life of St. Louis. I urge you to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and to view the beautiful mosaics in the narthex, which depict important aspects of his saintly life.The bookstore at the cathedral basilica also has available a good summary of his life.


On Aug. 31, 1941, Archbishop John J. Glennon spoke about the life of St. Louis of France over the Columbia Broadcasting System.The original manuscript of his presentation is preserved in the archives of the Missouri Historical Society here.The text is most inspiring for the manner in which the archbishop relates the heroic virtues of St. Louis to the challenges faced by the world and Church in the early 1940s.I conclude with words taken from Archbishop Glennon’s characteristically eloquent address.They express my own hope and prayer as we celebrate the memory of St. Louis, our noble patron.

"By the banks of the mighty river St. Louis keeps watch and ward, surrounded by a veritable litany of saintly men and women — St. Mary, St. Genevieve, St. Francois, St. Charles and St. Joseph, to which we may add the name and fame, the ashes and memory, of his own country-woman Blessed (now St.) Philippine Duchesne.Invoking their patronage it becomes our bounden duty even in an humble way to live worthy of them."

100th anniversary of the birth of John Joseph Cardinal Carberry


John Joseph Cardinal Carberry, sixth Bishop and fifth Archbishop of St. Louis, was born on July 31, 1904.On this past Saturday, July 31, 100 years to the day since his birth, I celebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, in order to thank God for the gift of his life and priestly vocation and to pray for his eternal rest.I was pleased that Msgr. Joseph D. Pins, rector of the Cathedral, who was ordained by Cardinal Carberry, Msgr. Joseph W. Baker, pastor of St. Hedwig Parish and judicial vicar of the Tribunal of Second Instance of the Province of St. Louis, a close co-worker of Cardinal Carberry, and Father Albert A. Mattler, pastor of St. Theodore Parish at Flint Hill and Chaplain of the local Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, an apostolate which Cardinal Carberry fostered very much, were able to concelebrate the Mass. Following the Mass, the faithful, together with the concelebrants and me, went to the crypt of the cathedral basilica, in which Cardinal Carberry’s earthly remains are entombed.There we prayed for Cardinal Carberry’s eternal rest.We also prayed what was surely Cardinal Carberry’s favorite prayer, the rosary.

Reflecting upon the life of Cardinal Carberry and studying his writings, I have been greatly encouraged in my service as Archbishop of St. Louis.I was especially edified by the many signs of God’s Providence in his life and by two strong aspects of the his pastoral care and direction of God’s flock in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

His years of priestly ministry

John Joseph Cardinal Carberry was the 10th and youngest child of James J. and Mary O’Keefe Carberry. His parents sent him to St. Boniface Elementary School in Brooklyn.After elementary school, he entered the high school and college seminary of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception.In the homily which he gave on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Cathedral College, Cardinal Carberry reflected upon the maternal care which our Blessed Mother, under her title of Immaculate Conception, had given to his seminary and the profound influence which her care had on his vocation (John J. Cardinal Carberry, Mary Queen and Mother: Marian Pastoral Reflections [Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1979], pp.174-175).
After his first years of college, he was sent to the Pontifical North American College to complete his philosophical and theological studies in preparation for ordination.He was ordained a priest in Rome on July 28, 1929, for the service of the Diocese of Brooklyn. He had completed a doctorate in philosophy and theology in Rome, but the Bishop of Brooklyn wanted him to study also Canon Law. He completed his doctorate in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1934.Over the years of his priestly ministry, he served in various parishes of the Diocese of Brooklyn and also taught in two of the Catholic high schools.In the booklet of his funeral rites, special mention is made of his weekly pastoral ministry to the patients at a tuberculosis sanatorium during the years of his service in the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Responding to the call for help from the Bishop Moses Kiley of Trenton in New Jersey, Cardinal Carberry was loaned for the service of the Diocese of Trenton in 1935.After completing six years of service in Trenton, Cardinal Carberry was called back to Brooklyn to teach in the seminary and to work in the Matrimonial Tribunal of his home diocese. The Matrimonial Tribunal is the office of a diocese, which receives petitions for the declaration of nullity of marriage and makes a first judgment regarding whether the nullity of the marriage has been established or not.Cardinal Carberry became the head or Officialis (today, judicial vicar) of the Matrimonial Tribunal of Brooklyn in December 1944, a position which he held until he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Lafayette in Indiana in 1956.His knowledge of Canon Law and extensive experience as a canon lawyer led to his service as president of the Canon Law Society of America from 1955 to 1956.

Cardinal Carberry was also active in the Mariological Society of America, an association of the faithful who are dedicated to the study of the place of Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, in the mystery of salvation. His active membership in the Mariological Society reflected the deep devotion to our Blessed Mother, which characterized his whole life as a priest and Bishop.

Cardinal Carberry received two papal honors. On March 25, 1948, he received the title of papal chamberlain, which today is the title of chaplain to his holiness.On June 8, 1954, he received the title of domestic prelate, which is today the title of prelate of honor.

His years of episcopal service

On May 3, 1956, Cardinal Carberry was appointed by Pope Pius XII to the office of Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. His episcopal consecration took place on the Feast of St. James the Apostle, July 25, 1956, in Brooklyn, some almost 27 years after his ordination to the priesthood.He was installed as Coadjutor Bishop on Aug. 22 of that year, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.He became Bishop of Lafayette on Nov. 20, 1957.

On Jan. 16, 1965, Pope Paul VI named Cardinal Carberry to the office of Bishop of Columbus in Ohio.He was installed as Bishop of Columbus on March 25, 1965, the Solemnity of the Annunciation.Finally, Pope Paul VI named Cardinal Carberry Archbishop of St. Louis on Feb. 17, 1968, to succeed Joseph Cardinal Ritter.He was installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on March 25, 1968.He was created a Cardinal of the Church by Pope Paul VI in the Consistory held on April 28, 1969. One cannot fail to appreciate how many important days of the episcopal life and ministry of Cardinal Carberry coincided with feasts honoring mysteries in the life of the Virgin Mary whom he loved with total devotion.

During his years of episcopal ministry, especially in St. Louis, Cardinal Carberry held many posts of service of the Church in our nation and in the world.For example, he was the vice president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1974 to 1977, and was a delegate to the World Synod of Bishops, convened by the Holy Father, in 1971, 1974 and 1976.

Cardinal Carberry participated faithfully in all of the sessions of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.He also participated in the two conclaves in 1978, which elected Pope John Paul I on Aug. 26 and Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16 of that year.He also served as a member of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops, offices of our Holy Father.As a member of these congregations, he traveled to Rome for meetings to advise the Holy Father regarding the governance of the Universal Church.

On his 75th birthday, July 31, 1979, in accord with the law of the Universal Church, Cardinal Carberry submitted his resignation of the office of Archbishop of St. Louis.His resignation was accepted by Pope John Paul II.He continued, however, as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the installation of his successor, Archbishop John L. May, on March 25, 1980.Cardinal Carberry remained active in ecclesiastical and civic affairs after his resignation.When he suffered a stroke in 1988, he was no longer able to continue the active life of before and took up his residence at St. Agnes Home in Kirkwood, at which the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus gave him exceptional care until the time of his death. He died at St. Agnes Home on June 17, 1998, just five weeks short of his 94th birthday.

Son of Mary

The first strong aspect of Cardinal Carberry’s service as Archbishop of St. Louis was his profound devotion to the Virgin Mary, especially under her title of Queen and Mother.From the very beginning of his service as a priest, Cardinal Carberry was given heavy responsibilities.He had learned at home and in the seminary to turn to the Mother of God for help in all matters.He had come to know in the depth of his being that just as Mary is the Mother of Christ, the High Priest, so also is she Mother of all priests.His devotion to the Virgin Mary was expressed, above all, by his love of praying the rosary.In so many of his homilies and writings, he explained the beauty and power of praying the rosary, and exhorted all to pray the rosary daily.
If you wish to study the Cardinal’s teaching about our Blessed Mother, I commend to you a volume of his reflections, which was published toward the end of his service as Archbishop of St. Louis.I am quoting from it throughout this tribute to Cardinal Carberry.It is titled Mary Queen and Mother: Marian Pastoral Reflections and was published by St. Paul Editions in 1979.
In his homily at the Mass during which he was installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on March 25, 1968, Cardinal Carberry entrusted his years of service here to the care of our Blessed Mother.His words of entrustment on the day when he began his service in St. Louis were faithfully reflected in his daily activities as Archbishop:

"Under the light of faith, it is a source of comfort and consolation for me to entrust the years of my service with you, as your Archbishop, to the loving care of Mary Immaculate, our Queen and our Mother, now inscribed on my coat of arms.Like a golden thread, love and devotion to Mary has intertwined itself in the glorious history of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.To this blessed tradition of the venerable archdiocese, which is ours, I most prayerfully dedicate myself.I pray that the rosary will be the treasured prayer of our Catholic families and that all of us may seek to know Mary better, to depend upon her in our undertakings, and to imitate her virtues in our everyday life" (Ibid., p. 187).

There can be no question that Cardinal Carberry obtained countless graces for his faithful priestly and episcopal ministry through the praying of the rosary.
In preparation for the Month of the Holy Rosary in 1969, Cardinal Carberry wrote to all of the faithful of the Archdiocese, reminding them of the gift of Mary to the Church, the gift made by Christ, her divine Son, as He died on the cross for our salvation (John 19:26-27).He listed the many personal needs and needs of the Church, which the faithful should be confiding to the intercession of Mary through their daily praying of the rosary.He noted especially the need to pray in reparation for "the many moral evils that are openly degrading the society in which we live and the apostasy into which so many of the baptized have been lured" (Ibid., p. 187). His list of needs, including the need of prayer of reparation, is as timely today as it was in 1969.

The personal devotion of Cardinal Carberry to our Blessed Mother and his constant urging of devotion to our Blessed Mother, especially by praying the rosary, had one end in view, our deeper knowledge and love of Christ.It is the end of all Marian devotion, as our Holy Father has recently taught us in a powerful way (cf. Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, "On the Most Holy Rosary," Oct. 16, 2002, especially Nos. 1, and 13-17).Cardinal Carberry described the fruit of Marian devotion in the Rosary Rally Address which he gave in Albuquerque, N.M., on Oct. 28, 1973:
"Always Mary seeks Jesus, always Mary is our loving Mother. Her desire for us is that we be Christ-centered; her desire for us is that we share in the fruits of His redemption; her desire for us is to know Him, and to hope in Him, and to love Him, and for us to listen to His teachings, and to follow His commands of love" (Mary Queen and Mother, p. 310).

Cardinal Carberry recounts, in his Pastoral Letter for the Month of the Rosary in 1968, a phrase, taken from St. Alphonsus Liguori, which a religious Sister had written on a holy card, given to him when he was her student in elementary school: "A child of Mary will never be lost" (Ibid., p. 194).Truly, Mary always leads her devoted children to Christ and His Cross, our only salvation.She will never permit us to lose our way.
Loyalty to the Successor of St. Peter
The second strong aspect of Cardinal Carberry’s service was his unswerving loyalty to our Holy Father, the successor of St. Peter.The Cardinal’s faith in the Church and in the irreplaceable office of St. Peter was clearly reflected in his teaching and pastoral activity.Having participated fully in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, he adhered to and took comfort from the teaching of the Council regarding the relationship of the Diocesan Bishop to the Holy Father:
"This sacred synod, following in the steps of the First Vatican Council, teaches and declares with it that Jesus Christ, the eternal pastor, set up the holy Church by entrusting the apostles with their mission as he himself had been sent by the Father (John 20:21).He willed that their successors, the bishops namely, should be the shepherds in His Church until the end of the world.In order that the episcopate itself, however, might be one and undivided He put Peter at the head of the other apostles, and in him he set up a lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion. This teaching concerning the institution, the permanence, the nature and import of the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching office, the sacred synod proposes anew to be firmly believed by all the faithful, and, proceeding undeviatingly with this same undertaking, it proposes to proclaim publicly and enunciate clearly the doctrine concerning bishops, successors of the apostles, who together with Peter’s successor, the Vicar of Christ and the visible head of whole Church, direct the house of the living God" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Nov. 21, 1964, n. 18b).
Cardinal Carberry often gave expression to his faith in the unfailing shepherding of the flock by Christ the Good Shepherd through the bishops in communion with the Holy Father.In his Rosary Rally Address at Albuquerque in 1973, to which I referred earlier, he pointed out how our Blessed Mother, in leading us to love Christ, also leads us to love His Mystical Body, the Church, and, in a special way, Christ’s Vicar, the Roman Pontiff:

"Her desire for us is to love His Church, for us to be one with His Vicar on earth, for us to be guided in our faith by the teaching office of the Church, by His bishops in union with the Vicar of Christ" (Mary Queen and Mother, p. 310).

He had already expressed, in a moving way, his loyalty to the Holy Father, shared with all the faithful of the archdiocese, at the beginning of his service in St. Louis. In his homily at the Mass of Installation on March 25, 1968, he declared:

"I am conscious of the fact that your prayerful welcome and acceptance of me reveals your faith in holy Mother Church and in particular your deep affection for the person of our Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, who has sent me to you. To him, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, as the successor of St. Peter, as our guide and our inspiration, I offer my homage of dedication, loyalty, obedience, service and my life. He is to us in the world today the source of unity, of peace, of strength and guidance. I know that you join with me in the prayer for him: "May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon earth" (Ibid., pp. 184-185).

The Cardinal’s characteristic humility and corresponding trust in God’s Providence was expressed, above all, in his devoted loyalty to the Holy Father.

Cardinal Carberry became Archbishop of St. Louis at a very challenging time for the Church.He faced the task of the careful implementation of the teachings of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which were easily betrayed by those who had not studied them and yet believed themselves to be following "the spirit of the Council." The year 1968 witnessed a cultural revolution marked above all by a rebellion against authority.The Paris student riots symbolized a rejection of authority at all levels.The spirit of the cultural revolution also entered into the Church.Just a few short months after Cardinal Carberry’s installation, Pope John Paul II published his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, which was met with open dissent on the part of many.In an address which he gave to honor our Blessed Mother under her title, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Cardinal Carberry reflected upon the suffering of the Church from dissent within:

"Might we not consider the tumult within the Church, the rebellion against authority, the lack of respect for Peter’s successor, the strange new doctrinal proposals, the contempt in some for tradition, and the uncertainty which has followed in the minds of our people — might we consider these another way in which the Church is suffering in our midst? Perhaps what we are going through may be worse than physical persecution which usually unites the persecuted; our sufferings are such that they divide, they create distrust, they give rise to fear, and lack of trust and certainty. On the surface it may not have the image of suffering, but beneath, suffering indeed it is" (Ibid., p. 292).
In the midst of the trials of the Church in his time, through which Cardinal Carberry carefully steered the Church in the archdiocese with a heart after the Heart of Jesus, it was his loyalty to the Vicar of Christ on earth which maintained the Church in unity, the unity founded on the Word of Christ handed down to us unfailingly in the Church.

In the same address, the Cardinal indicates to us the inseparable link of his devotion to Mary and his loyalty to the Holy Father. Referring to Mary’s maternal care of the Church, he declared:

"With motherly concern and love she points to the one whom we are to follow, the one whom we see and who dwells in our midst, the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the Church of Christ, the people of God — .... he is the rock on which Christ built His Church, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.Mary, the Mother of the Church, stands by to protect the Church from the power of Satan (Ibid., pp. 292-293).


The 100th anniversary of the birth of the beloved Cardinal Carberry is an occasion for us all to grow in our love of Christ and His holy Church. It is the occasion for us to reflect especially upon the vocation and mission of Mary as Mother of the Church, and upon the irreplaceable ministry of St. Peter and his successor in the Church, "the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful" (Lumen Gentium, No. 23a).Cardinal Carberry remains always our teacher in devoted love of Mary and in unswerving loyalty to the Vicar of Christ.

Let us thank God for the gift of life which he gave to John Joseph Cardinal Carberry 100 years ago and the gift of his priestly vocation. Let us pray for the eternal rest of Cardinal Carberry, that God grant him the reward of the faithful shepherd of the flock.

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