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.

Our priests ­­— a word of thanks!

Our priests ­­—a word of thanks!

While I have a chance, I want to say a word of thanks to our priests and, in particular, to our pastors. The Lenten and the Easter seasons are perhaps the busiest seasons of the liturgical year for priests, but they are also the most filled with meaning. In so many ways, springtime is a fun time to be a priest, simply because so much preparation comes to fruition. They get to witness the fruits, not only of their own labor, but those of the parish teachers, catechists, sponsors and parish staff. It is the time of receiving into the Church catechumens and candidates on Holy Saturday night. It is the time of First Holy Communions and Confirmations. It is the time of weddings. All of these require a great deal of energy, but they are so rewarding.

I thought you should know

Notre Dame — Our Lady or Our Disaster?

Our exit interviews have already been scheduled, and we will show up for them at the appointed time. This is the time of preparation. This is the time of soul searching. This is the time when we need to evaluate how our decisions measure up to the Good News for which our Master died on the Cross. He made it very clear that when He comes at the end of time, he will say to us, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). In verse 45, He tells us, “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I Thought You Should Know

Welcome Archbishop Robert J. Carlson!

For almost nine months we have been praying for the future Archbishop of St. Louis, and our prayers have been richly rewarded.  On April 21, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, to be the Archbishop of St. Louis. He will build on the legacy of his two immediate predecessors, Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Burke. I have known him for a number of years, and I have been most deeply impressed with his pastoral skills. He is a man of prayer, of thoughtful reflection and of action. He is an outstanding teacher, preacher, leader and administrator. Like Archbishop Burke, he is extremely gifted in attracting vocations to the priesthood. We welcome him with our prayers, our open arms and our open hearts!

Celebrating Mercy Sunday

Mercy Sunday is the Sunday after Easter. The Gospel of that day relates the appearance of the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday night extending to His apostles His peace, and then He said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The only reason Jesus became man was to extend His mercy to mankind. The term, “mercy,” is found 207 times in the Bible. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical The Mercy of God, tells us, “Some theologians affirm that mercy is the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God, and the Bible, tradition and the whole faith life of the People of God provide particular proof of this.” (Paragraph 13)

‘Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer…?’

For the humble of heart, the liturgies of Holy Week comprise the most moving liturgies of the entire year. The humble of heart make an instant connection between their own poverty and God’s reaching out to them with his mercy and his love. From the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper to the Easter Vigil, we are immersed in the mystery of the Lord’s redemption. At the Easter Vigil the Church sings:

“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer

The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!”

Bishop Hermann: ‘I thought you should know’ - Catholic Men for Christ

This past Saturday over 1,000 men from the Archdiocese gathered at the America’s Center for a day of spiritual challenge and refreshment! It was the second annual Catholic Men for Christ Conference in St. Louis. Last year’s event was held at CBC.

They came from parishes throughout the archdiocese. One parish had more than 90 men in attendance at the conference, and another parish had over 70. Many were members of the Knights of Columbus, and others were members of the Knights of Peter Claver. A very large percentage of the men had made a "Christ Renews His Parish" weekend. Many of the men meet weekly for prayer, teaching and fellowship. One parish hosts 70 men every Saturday morning from 6 to 8 a.m. with breakfast, a speaker and small group sharing. All are experiencing Jesus Christ transforming their lives. One young man told me, "This past Saturday was a life-changing experience for me and my father. We have never bonded so closely before."

Why did they come?

They came for a very simple reason. These men wanted to experience a closer relationship with Jesus and with members of their family. They came to open their hearts wide to the transforming love and mercy of our God. They came to hear very strong and challenging teachings touching every aspect of their lives. They are hungry to learn more about their faith, their role as a Catholic father and their call to bond with their wives and children. They came to bring other men closer to Christ. They came to witness to other men and be edified by the example of other men.

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