Evangelii Gaudium

Pope Francis' first apostolic exhortation

Evangelization is simply 'sharing something good and helpful to other people,' speaker says

In the homily for the Mass to kick off the 2015-16 school year, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson quoted Pope Francis from "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel").

"An evangelizer must never look like someone who just came from a funeral," Pope Francis wrote. "May the world of our time ... receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospels whose lives glow with fever, who have first received the joy of Christ."

BEFORE THE CROSS | Easter is the season of joy

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke at the Catholic Charities of St. Louis Legislative Breakfast April 4 and asked legislators to keep the needs of the poor close to their hearts. The important topics included Medicaid reform and expansion, a moratorium on the death penalty, alternatives to abortion and modest tax credits that help the poor.

During the six weeks of Lent, I offered a series of reflections on the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"). In my first article, I wrote that during Lent it is especially appropriate for us to reflect prayerfully on the obstacles that get in our way as we journey toward the joy of heaven. Now, when we celebrate the great feast of Easter, we have a chance to experience some small share of the joy that will be ours abundantly and forever in the kingdom of heaven.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Pope Francis challenges us to be 'spirit-filled evangelizers'

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led evening prayer at St. Raymond’s Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis before a dinner to kick off the 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal. The theme of this year’s appeal is “Build My Church.” To learn more about the appeal and watch a video from Archbishop Carlson, see www.archstl.org/aca.

This is my final Lenten reflection on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"). I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this amazingly rich document, so if you have not already done so, I encourage you to read it prayerfully during the coming Easter season.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Faith in Jesus Christ is deeply personal, but it is not private

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

We are baptized into a family of faith, the Church, and we live out our Christian discipleship in communion with all our sisters and brothers (living and deceased) who make up the one Body of Christ. The social, or communal, dimension of Catholic belief and practice is every bit as important as the individual, or personal, dimension of Christian life.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Obstacles to experiencing The Joy of the Gospel

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke during a healing prayer service held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Washington March 6. At the event, which was open to the public, Archbishop Carlson apologized and prayed for those who have been harmed or touched by abuse in any way.

Lent is an appropriate time for us to reflect on the obstacles that can prevent us from experiencing the fullness of Easter joy. That's why the Church provides us with this penitential season and urges us to devote serious time to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

BEFORE THE CROSS | The Gospel calls us out of comfort zones

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

I could be wrong, but I doubt that the phrase "comfort zone" has ever appeared in a papal document before. In "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"), Pope Francis uses this term quite deliberately. He tells us in no uncertain terms that Christian life is not meant to be comfortable. On the contrary, we are each asked "to obey His call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the 'peripheries' in need in light of the Gospel."

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