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 | Consecrated life requires total surrender to Christ's call

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson got some help selecting bandannas for his dogs from Cardinal Ritter College Prep freshman Bryant Bell Sept. 25 at the Making It booth in the Clayton Farmer’s Market. Bryant and fellow Ritter freshman Candice Murdock, behind Bryant, became involved in the Making It project, baking and selling gourmet dog biscuits, while students at Central Catholic High School in North St. Louis. The program will soon move to Holy Trinity School in the Baden neighborhood. The booth also features Angel Baked Cookies, made by neighborhood teens at Sts. Teresa Bridget Parish. Jenu McLucas, a Holy Trinity fifth-grader, stood next to the archbishop.

St. Clare of Assisi ran away from home at age 19 to follow Christ through a way of life that involved a total surrender of everything she knew. Like her friend and mentor, St. Francis, she embraced the Gospel counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience — with a special commitment to poverty as a way of achieving total detachment from material things and from the status and security that a life of wealth and comfort promises but never completely delivers.

Before the Cross | We are called to follow Jesus Christ and to serve Him in diverse ways

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson celebrated Mass Sept. 22 before the inaugural Gospel of Life Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of Legatus. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, N.D., concelebrated. Deacon Larry Stallings of Incarnate Word Parish assisted. Keynote speaker Bishop Aquila spoke about the importance of unyielding commitment to pro-life issues.

Do you know what your vocation is? Every Christian has one. The vocation, or calling, of every baptized Christian is to follow Jesus Christ and to live as He lived in communion with God and with all God's children — past, present and future.

We all receive the same calling to follow Jesus, but the Lord calls each one of us by name. He knows us — better than we know ourselves — and so He invites us to follow Him in ways that are particularly suited to the gifts, talents and abilities God has given us.

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

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