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: Praying with, for those who have died

Do you ever wish that you could talk to someone you love who has died?

I do. I wish I could have at least one more conversation with each of my parents and with many of my friends and mentors who have died.

What would you say if you could have one last conversation with someone who has died?

Would you ask forgiveness for something you did (or didn’t do)? Would you thank them for a special favor they’d given you — or for a lifetime of love and friendship? Would you say, “I love you,” or, “I forgive you,” or “I really need your help right now”?

Catholic Christians have always believed in the importance of praying for those who have died. We also believe that the dead pray for us — that they intercede for us as advocates before the throne of God. This means, of course, that we believe there is a real relationship that continues to exist between the living and the dead. And like all personal relationships, we believe that our connection (communion) with those who have died is nourished and strengthened by personal, and sometimes intimate, communication.

Before the Cross: Saints are guides to happiness, peace

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson was the keynote speaker at the 33rd annual archdiocesan Respect Life Convention Oct. 25 at the St. Charles Convention Center. After his speech, 12-year-old Anthony brought a handful of ring rosaries, scapulars and a St. Anthony of Padua medal to the archbishop and asked for his blessing. Anthony was going to present the devotionals to each of his 12 brothers and sisters. Anthony and his family are members of St. Joseph Parish in Imperial.

Have you ever felt that you had lost your way in life — that you were all alone in your disappointments or frustrations? Have you ever wished that you had a friend or mentor who could show you the way out of the trouble you’re in?

In his encyclical “Saved by Hope,” Pope Benedict XVI writes: “Life is a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives.” They are the light of hope, the Holy Father writes, because they point us to Jesus Christ, “the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history.”

People who shine with the light of Christ are called saints. These are the men and women who have gone before us and who know the way to true happiness and peace. Many of the saints have been officially recognized by the Church through a process that results in the solemn proclamation (canonization) that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace. But during the last 2,000 years, many other holy women and men have given themselves wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ without being declared saints by the Church. These are the saints we celebrate on Nov. 1, the Solemnity of All Saints.

A pastoral letter from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Oct. 11, 2009

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write to you to encourage your full participation in the celebration of World Mission Sunday on Oct. 18.

On World Mission Sunday we are called to focus our attention on the great needs of the Church in the Developing World. I encourage you to pray, to sacrifice and give generous financial support, all of which are so vitally needed by more than 1,100 mission dioceses throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and some remote regions of Latin America.

In times of tragedy — natural disaster, war and persecution — our mission family looks to the Church for help and hope. World Mission Sunday celebrates our unity as members of the Church worldwide and provides an opportunity to support the life-giving presence of missionaries and their work with the training of local priests, religious and lay catechists among the suffering and poor in mission territories.

Pastoral Letter: Respect Life Month

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pope Benedict XVI calls us to respect life as Christ did with these wise words: “Every child … brings us God’s smile and invites us to recognize that life is His gift, a gift to be welcomed with love and preserved with care always and at every moment.”

These words of our Holy Father, chosen as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ theme for Respect Life Month in 2009, remind us of the deep importance of respecting all human life. This call to see our Lord in each human face is our responsibility as seekers of justice, as defenders of equal rights and as Catholics. It is a call that is increasingly challenging as our society continues to fail to recognize the rights and dignity of the unborn and those at the end of life, and the true gift that is fertility and chaste married love. Additionally troubling are the recent developments in the debate over federal health care reform, as it seems likely that the proposed plans will include greater access to abortion and disrespect for the care of the dying, all funded by the American taxpayers.

Pastoral Letter: Stewardship Awareness Sunday

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Although today the Archdiocese of St. Louis marks its ninth annual celebration of Stewardship Awareness Sunday, for me it is my first opportunity to write to you about stewardship.

During my short time here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I have already seen that the people of this archdiocese are good and generous people. I have been overwhelmed by all that you have given and all that you have accomplished. For that I am most grateful.

Yet in their pastoral letter on stewardship, the U.S. Catholic Bishops remind us that, “At every step forward, one is challenged to go further in accepting and loving God’s will.” Today, I am asking each of you to consider whether Jesus might be calling you to take one more step forward in your spiritual and stewardship journey.

Thanks to all for supporting the ACA

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today we celebrate a remarkable achievement by you, the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Despite a struggling economy, the 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal will be able to award $12.5 million in grants over the coming year as hoped. Over 61,000 Catholic households from every socio-economic background in our archdiocese made sacrifices, often very significant ones, to ensure that the local Church could continue its mission of sharing the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through the service of others. I want to thank each and every one of you who made a gift to make this possible. As every dollar will be needed to fund the promised grants, each sacrificial gift, no matter the size, was equally necessary. As Christian stewards, you can and should be proud of your accomplishment.

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