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.

Providing for Priestly Ordinations

Priesthood Ordinations

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 23, 2009, I will have the privilege of ordaining four young men to the priesthood to serve in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. They are Rev. Mr. Mark Chrismer, Rev. Mr.  John Mayo, Rev. Mr. Eric Olsen and Rev. Mr.  David Skillman. These are outstanding young men. For the 550,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese, this is a great time of rejoicing. Let us keep these young men in our prayers, and let us encourage them in the coming years as they minister to us and to our children.

Seminary Campaign

In order to provide for the present and future needs for the education and formation of our priests, Archbishop Burke launched a capital campaign entitled “Faith for the Future” to raise $50 million to upgrade the aging seminary building, to enhance its facilities to meet today’s needs for formation and to provide an endowment that will help sustain the ongoing expense of educating our priests.

This is an investment for the next 100 years of seminary formation. Archbishop-elect Carlson told the seminarians on April 21, 2009, “I am well aware of the upcoming campaign for the seminary. Please be assured of my commitment to this effort.”

Thank you, Educators!

As we come to the end of this school year, I want to say a word of thanks to the educators in our Catholic Schools. In a sense, this includes all associated with the faith formation of our children, beginning with parents, teachers, school administrators, pastors, parish administrators and even parish councils and parish finance committees who have struggled to make available the resources needed to carry on the ministry of Catholic education. It also includes in a special way our Archdiocesan Catholic Education Office under the direction of George Henry, our Superintendent of Catholic Education. This has not been an easy year for our Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education or for our parishes and high schools. This may have been the hardest year ever to help schools struggling to balance their budgets!

I want to say a special word of thanks to our classroom teachers where the gospel meets real life. I am most grateful to Monsignor John Unger, the Deputy Superintendent for Catechesis and Evangelization, for all the work he has done to support our teachers in their efforts at faith formation. I am especially grateful for his developing The Evangelizing Catholic School. This is the new evangelization in the classroom. It is my understanding that follow-up retreats are quickly filled by teachers eager to learn more about how to implement the new evangelization in the classroom. This is very encouraging!

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)

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