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October 15, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We will celebrate World Mission Sunday on October 24th. This is the one Sunday of the year when Catholics worldwide pray and sacrifice for Missionaries in over 1,150 mission territories who depend on this support in order to share the message of the Gospel.

In his message for World Mission Sunday, Pope Benedict observes: “Like the Greek pilgrims of two thousand years ago, the people of our time too, ask believers not only to ‘speak’ of Jesus, but to ‘make Jesus seen’.

Missionaries worldwide make Jesus seen in striking ways. Here are some examples:

  • The Little Sisters of Jesus delivered food to local families in Haiti after the earthquake.
  • Sister Julie of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Karachi, Pakistan helps educate the little children on the roads of Pakistan so that they can earn their living instead of begging.
  • A native Priest of Bluefields, Nicaragua said: “I was inspired by the missionaries I met when I was growing up. Now I am a missionary in my own country.”

Please be generous to the special collection for World Mission Sunday on October 24th. May our prayers and support enable Missionaries “not only to speak of Jesus, but to make Jesus seen.” May God reward you for having a missionary heart!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis

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Pastor’s Pen – October 10, 2010

Published on 10. Oct, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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Letters…

Like all of you, I get a fair amount of mail. Some are bills, some are requests, some are diocesan matters, and some are words of thanks for jobs well done. Let me share some of those latter ones with you from my mail bag…

From Archbishop Carlson: “I ask you please to express…my gratitude to your parishioners for their generous support of the Annual Catholic Appeal. “They are to be commended for meeting and exceeding both your recommended goal and your challenge goal by raising more than last year. I am grateful for their solidarity with all Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis through their participation in this important appeal. Working together in this way, we practice Christian Stewardship and bring Christ’s love to our communities. May God continue to pour out his blessings upon you and yours…To his thanks, let me add my own, and in your name, a huge thank you to Bob Beckring for his leadership in our parish efforts…

From the American Red Cross: “Since 2002,over 853 units have been collected at St. Ann’sto support blood needs locally. Just one unit of blood can help up to three patients as it is separated into red cell platelets and plasma.That means blood from St. Ann may have helped up to 2,500 individuals… The level of support from the Knight of Columbus, especially Jim Paunika and Bruce Gardiner has been incredible. [We know…] Our local hospitals in the Missouri-Illinois region rely on over 5,000 units of blood donated every week to meet our patients’needs… On behalf of the blood recipients and families, we extend our continued thanks and appreciation to you and your church volunteers and donors…”

Finally, 40 Days for Life, a pro-life movement brought here to St. Louis by a Newman Centerstudent (and now alum), wrote to ask for volunteers to help in this ministry of witness and prayer. A few ways that people can become involved are: signing up to fill vacant hours to pray at Planned Parenthood; fast and pray for the effort privately or as a group; join theRosary Crusade to end abortion. For information about this effort you may visit their website at www.40daysforlife.com/stlouis. “Together we can end abortion in St. Louis and the world…”

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Please Support This Year’s Deacon Formation Collection

Did you know that, over the last four decades, dozens of Deacons of the Archdiocese of St. Louis have, in addition to their parish service, volunteered countless hours of selfless, lovingcare for those in our midst who are suffering and in need? Like those first seven ordained by theApostles, our Deacons are called to be ministers of charity and models of Christ-like compassionfor the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, and the dying, Deacons “wash the feet” of the faithfuleach day, seeing the face of Christ revealed in their ailing brothers and sisters. Deacons canbe found offering us comfort in every facet of daily life—nursing homes, hospitals, hospices,prisons, schools, airports, businesses, and more. Can you help our future deacons be Christ’shands and feet with your charitable donation to this year’s Deacon Formation Collection?Deacon formation in the Archdiocese relies heavily on the support of this year’s annual DeaconFormation Collection, held this coming October 2nd and 3rd. Please be as generous as possible.God bless you for your support!

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September 19, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today our Archdiocese observes its 10th Annual Stewardship Awareness Sunday.  Stewardship awareness should happen every Sunday—and every day of the week—but this annual reminder is an excellent opportunity for me to once again say thank you to each of you for your generous stewardship of all God’s gifts!

Stewardship Awareness Sunday is also a time for each of us to remember that everything we have is a gift from God—our minds and hearts, our skills and talents and all our material possessions all comes as free gifts from a generous and loving God.  On this day we are reminded in a special way that we own nothing.  God owns everything, and He shares His gifts with us so that we can share them with others.

Once we accept that everything truly belongs to God, there are two appropriate responses:

The first is to be filled with gratitude for all the blessings God shares with us so generously.

The second is to recognize that we have a responsibility to use our gifts wisely and well in the way that God wants.

Gratitude and responsibility are fundamental characteristics of a Christian steward. Both demand that we be people of prayer.

When we pray, especially in the Eucharist, we give God thanks and praise. We acknowledge His goodness to us, and we express our profound gratitude for all His abundant blessings.

When we pray, we should seek God’s will for the development and use of all His gifts to us. We can only know how God wants us to use our gifts if we turn to Him every day in prayer and ask Him.   

That’s why the theme for this 10th annual Stewardship Sunday is Stewardship: Start with Prayer. Earlier this year I met with more than 300 pastors and stewardship leaders from all regions of our Archdiocese and I asked them to set aside the year 2010 as a time when we all reflect prayerfully on what stewardship means to us individually and as a Church.

Today I am asking you, and every Catholic in our Archdiocese, to join me in reflecting prayerfully on all God’s blessings and on His will for how we develop and share them with others.

Let’s start with prayer.  I encourage you to begin every day with this simple prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all your blessings. And then pray: Lord, what do you want me to do with all the gifts you have given me? Listen to God’s answer. He speaks to us—not necessarily in words—in the stillness of our hearts.

I believe that prayer will lead us all to greater participation in our parishes and a stronger desire to “pay back” God’s goodness by sharing our gifts with our Church and our world.

As I mention in my article in this week’s St. Louis Review, we can never really pay God back for all His goodness to us, but it’s my experience that when we embrace stewardship wholeheartedly through a life of prayer and active participation in our Church’s mission, we find great joy.  Our lives change for the better.  We feel less stress and much more peace because we have given everything back to God and allowed Him to take charge of everything – exactly as He should.

This is my hope and prayer for you on this Stewardship Awareness Sunday.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Archbishop of St. Louis

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September 5, 2010

Dear Friends in Christ,

I appeal to you today to give generously to the National Collection for The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Catholic University is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops and chartered by the Vatican.  As such, it has a special responsibility to educate future leaders for our Church and our nation.  In this sense, The Catholic University of America belongs to all of us in the Church, regardless of where we live.

The financial sacrifices required of Catholic parents to provide a truly Catholic college education are enormous.  All of the funds received through this collection underwrite the financial aid program at the university.  Simply put, your contributions directly benefit students at Catholic University from all over the United States, including our own archdiocese, by funding scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to attend.  Last year, nearly 3,000 students at CUA received scholarship support through the funds raised via the National Collection for Catholic University.

Students at Catholic University receive personalized attention in a wide variety of programs, combining an excellent liberal arts curriculum with courses in their major fields of study. Grounded in the philosophy of the Catholic intellectual tradition, these students are well prepared for success in life and ready to make a difference in today’s world.

Thank you for your support of The Catholic University of America.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson

Archbishop of St. Louis

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