Archbishop's column

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

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

Before the Cross | We are called to respond as stewards of God's generosity

In Psalm 116, we pray: How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will raise a cup of salvation and call on the Lord's name.

In fact, we can never really repay the Lord. Everything we have already belongs to Him. We are stewards, not owners, of all the spiritual and material gifts we have received from God's bounty. God is the supreme giver. He lacks nothing and gives everything. He is filled to overflowing with love and goodness. His grace creates and sustains the universe and everything it contains.

Before the cross | Strong Catholic identity, spiritual growth will help schools thrive for future

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson listened to speakers after giving his presentation at the inaugural Celebration for the Federation of Catholic Schools in the Northeast County Deanery Aug. 11. The presentation was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine property. A reception and tours of the shrine followed the presentation. Seated next to the archbishop was Msgr. Jack Schuler, dean of the Northeast County Deanery.

Three scholars at The Catholic University of America recently published the results of significant research they conducted on the value of Catholic schools and the challenges facing them in the United States today. In the study, titled "Weathering the Storm: Moving Catholic Schools Forward," the authors write: "In the vast majority of cases, Catholic schools close because the financial circumstances of the school have become untenable."

They then list seven factors that contribute to a school's "untenable" financial circumstances:

Before the cross | We must keep our Catholic schools growing

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson greeted Sister Deloris of the Immaculate Heart before he celebrated Holy Mass Saturday in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first profession of vows for Sister Deloris of the Immaculate Heart and Sister Magdalen of St. Jerome, both members of the Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Florissant. In the background is Father Robert Szydlowski, senior associate at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Hazelwood.

In January when I published my vision for Catholic schools, I wrote: "We cannot be content with the status quo or, worse, with declining enrollments in our schools. To truly be Alive in Christ our schools must be vibrant centers of evangelization and missionary activity. Promoting growth is not optional — no matter how difficult the challenges."

Archbishop's Calendar | August 27, 2010

Here is the weekly schedule for Archbishop Robert J. Carlson:

Saturday, August 28

11 a.m. Celebrant and homilist for Diamond Jubilee Mass, Contemplative Sisters of Good Shepherd, Florissant

4:30 p.m. Celebrant and homilist for Mass honoring Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's birth, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta parish, Ferguson

Sunday, August 29

5 p.m. Celebrant and homilist for Mass honoring 50th anniversary of parish, St. Sabina Church, Florissant

Tuesday, August 31

Before the cross | A trinity of essential characteristics define identity of Catholic schools

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated Mass in the Chapel of St. Vincent de Paul at the Cardinal Rigali Center on Aug. 25, the feast of St. Louis IX. St. Louis IX, the patron saint of the archdiocese, ruled France in the middle of the 13th century and was canonized in 1297 by Pope Boniface VIII. To read more about St. Louis, see

What are the fundamental characteristics of a Catholic school? What constitutes a school's "Catholic identity"?

It's not the externals — the crucifixes on the classroom walls, the pictures and statues of the saints, the habits worn by the Sisters or the little boxes or rice bowls used to collect money for the missions. These are important physical symbols (sacramentals) that remind us of deeper truths, but they are not the essential things that make a school Catholic.

Before the cross | Catholic schools express hope when they are Alive in Christ!

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke with Bob and Peggy McGartland of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish at the celebration for the Federation of Catholic Schools in the Northeast Deanery Aug. 11. The McGartlands were incolved in the early stages of planning for what would become the federation. The presentation was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on the Old St Ferdinand Shrine property. A reception and tours of the shrine followed the presentation.

During my first year as archbishop of St. Louis, I visited many schools and learned a lot about the rich tradition and history of Catholic education in this part of the country. Who could fail to be impressed by, and grateful for, the heritage that is ours? We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the women and men — clergy, religious and laypeople — who built our schools and who have sustained our commitment to Catholic education for nearly 200 years in spite of many obstacles!

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