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.

Ministry to the young Church is a labor of love and joy 

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson greeted priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis as they entered the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis to celebrate Mass of the Holy Chrism on Holy Thursday, April 21.

This is the first in a series of articles on ministry to the young Church. I want to share with you some of the experiences of three dedicated professionals who minister to young people in very different settings: a Catholic high school, a parish and a college campus.

Liz Miller is a campus minister at Notre Dame High School, a Catholic school in the archdiocese. She says her job is to make sure that students in her school have opportunities to experience God's love for them and, most of all, to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Before the Cross | Jesus’ prayer on Good Friday speaks of both abandonment, hope

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson processed to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis after blessing the palms April 17 before celebrating Palm Sunday Mass.

Jesus died praying. His whole being was handed over to the Father in a profound act of love and worship. As the evangelists Matthew and Mark describe it, the Lord cried out in a loud voice as He hung on the cross uttering the opening words of Psalm 21: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

The bystanders who heard the Lord's words misunderstood Him. They thought he was calling on Elijah or one of the prophets to come and save Him. They didn't realize that His words of abandonment were also words of profound hope.

Before the Cross | During the Season of Lent

The Church gives us the season of Lent to help us diagnose the soul sickness that affects every one of us to some degree or another. During Lent, the readings at Mass, our prayer, the penitential practices we are called to observe (fasting and abstinence) and the good works we are invited to perform (almsgiving) all help us to admit our sinfulness and to change from a self-centered way of life to lives of generous service.

Before the cross | Do all needed to keep marriage holy 

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke with Greg Meier, left, of St. Bernadette Parish at Jefferson Barracks and his son, Michael Meier, 17, during the Annual Catholic Appeal kick-off dinner April 3 at The Cedars at St. Raymond’s Maronite Catholic Cathedral.

For the past six weeks, I have been reflecting on the Precepts of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and its compendium list five precepts as follows:

1. Attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and remain free from work or activity that could impede the sanctification of such days.

2. Confess your sins at least once a year.

3. Receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.

4. Observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.

5. Help provide for the needs of the Church.

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.

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