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.

We are challenged to be generous as God has been generous with us

For the past several weeks, I have been writing about the Precepts of the Church. Unlike the Ten Commandments and the Eight Beatitudes, which speak to universal human behavior, the precepts address more specific characteristics of Catholic identity -- basic requirements for being an active member of the faith community.

Before the Cross | We are called to deny ourselves, take up the cross of Christ

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson was the grand marshal at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Louis’ Dogtown neighborhood March 17. Riding in the 1923 Ford Model T with the archbishop was Father John Johnson, pastor of St. James the Greater Parish. Driving the car is the owner, Joe LaMacchia, and riding with him is Terri Minter.

Not too long ago, the most common sign of Catholic identity was abstaining from meat on Fridays. Now the requirement of Friday abstinence is reserved to the six weeks of Lent (with fasting required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), but the admonition to deny ourselves comes directly from the Lord, and it is not reserved to any special day or season.

Before the Cross | The Eucharist is at the center of everything

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson received the Offertory gifts from Mother Clare Millea, ASCJ, superior general, and Sister Maureen Martin, ASCJ, provincial, during a March 12 Mass marking the 150th birthday of Mother Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart. The Mass at Seven Holy Founders Parish in Affton was concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice and priests from the archdiocese. A reception at Cor Jesu Academy followed the Mass.

At the heart of our identity as Catholics is the holy Eucharist, the sacrament of Christ's body and blood. Our reception of this great sacrament can be said to define who we are as individuals and as a community of faith.

Pastoral Letter | Our Lenten journey

To Christ's faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis on the observance of the holy season of Lent March 2011:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On Ash Wednesday, March 9, we began our annual Lenten journey that will reach its ultimate fulfillment in the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The imposition of blessed ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday signifies the purification of our minds and hearts, which is the fruit of our Lenten observance.

Before the Cross | Confession paves way to curing our soul's sickness

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presented Maria Cantalin, 13, of St. Raphael the Archangel School with the Mary the First Disciple Scouting award during a prayer service March 6 for Presentation Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. More that 1,200 Girls Scouts and Brownies were recognized with religious awards.

Last year during the season of Lent, I wrote several articles on the importance of the Sacrament of Penance. I invited every Catholic in our archdiocese to make Lent a time of spiritual healing, especially by the reception of the Sacrament of Penance.

Spiritual health comes when we recognize that we are inwardly divided and that we need God's grace to make us whole. It comes when we confess our sins, when we open ourselves to the healing power of God's grace, and when we let Jesus absolve us from our sins so that we can begin anew.

Before the Cross | Go to Mass this Sunday; we miss you

Last year when I wrote about the Third Commandment, I offered some fairly blunt reflections on our obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. Here is what I wrote:

"I'm not going to sugarcoat the truth. Too many Catholics ignore their solemn obligation to attend Mass every Sunday. Parents who fail to bring their children to Mass on the Lord's Day sin twice — by failing in their Sunday obligation and by being a source of scandal for their children.

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