The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson

Archbishop Carlson at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

If you would like to contact Archbishop Carlson, please
write to him at:
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis
Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Phone: 314-792-7841
Fax: 314-792-7842

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The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson was installed as Archbishop of St. Louis on June 10, 2009 after being appointed to the Archdiocese of St. Louis by Pope Benedict XVI on April 21, 2009.

Prior to his appointment to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Carlson served as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw from 2005-2009. at the direction of Pope John Paul II.

A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Archbishop Carlson was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1970 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was later ordained as an auxiliary bishop for his home archdiocese on January 11, 1984 and went on to serve as Bishop of Sioux Falls, S.D., from 1994 to 2005.

An official photo of Archbishop Carlson, and other resources, are available in the Archdiocese of St. Louis Press Kit upon agreeing to the terms for proper usage.


Pastoral Letters

October 2015: Pastoral Statement on Immigration & Mercy (Declaración pastoral en español)

February 2015: Pastoral Letter on the Sacrament of Reconciliation

December 2013: Pastoral Letter on Spiritual Formation

November 2012: Pastoral Letter on Evangelization (Declaración pastoral en español)

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Crest / Coat of ArmsCoat of Arms / Crest

The great seal of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (viewer’s left side) is an azure, blue, field with a gold crusader’s cross, and a crown representing Saint Louis IX, King of France and patron of both the Archdiocese of St. Louis and City of St. Louis. On the extremes of the cross are found the fleur-de-lis flower that recalls the French foundation of the city. In the upper corner of the shield is a silver crescent moon symbolizing Mary, the Blessed Virgin, the state of Missouri, and the navigational direction of west. At the bottom of the shield a silver, or argent, wavy band symbolizes a body of water or in this case the Mississippi River. When all the symbols are read together they suggest the description: West of a body of water, the Mississippi River, there is a diocese/city named for the Crusader King of France.

The personal arms of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson (viewer’s right side) was adopted in 1984 when he became Auxiliary of St. Paul – Minneapolis, and is now joined to the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The garb of wheat on his personal arms represents his native Minneapolis (the "miller of the Midwest") and the green field alludes to the plains as well as recalling the liturgical color symbolizing hope. The crescent represents his devotion to Mary and the Latin cross is a symbol of faith. The upper portion of the shield is taken from the arms associated with the bishop's family and the waves in base allude to the Sioux River and recall his service as bishop of Sioux Falls.

The episcopal coat of arms is completed by the gold processional metropolitan cross behind the shield, the green ecclesiastical hat or “gallero” with its ten tassels on each side, indicates Archbishop Carlson’s episcopal rank, and the motto which appears on an ornamental scroll, are the distinctive heraldic emblems of an archbishop in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. The episcopal motto of Archbishop Carlson is, “Ante Crucem Nihil Defensionis,” that is, Before the Cross There is No Defense.


Current Position: 

Installed as Archbishop of St. Louis, June 10, 2009 

Appointed Archbishop of St. Louis, April 21, 2009 

Installed as Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan, February 24, 2005 

Named Ordinary of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, March 21, 1995 

Appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, January 13, 1994 

Ordained Bishop, January 11, 1984, and served as Auxiliary Bishop of the 

Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis 

Ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, May 23, 1970 

Currently Serves as: 

Member, Canon Law Society of America 

Co-Chair, Mission Advisory Committee, Institute for Priestly Formation, Omaha NE 

Member, Advisory Board, Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, 2004-Present 

Member, NCDVD Advisory Board (National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors) 

Co-Founder, The Messengers of Peace Religious Community, Colombia, South America, 2004 

Member, Episcopal Advisory Board of the Institute on Religious Life, October 2009 

Episcopal Board of Advisors, Cause of Beatification of Archbishop Sheen, October 2009 

Episcopal Advisor, Renewal Ministries 

Chair, USCCB Committee Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations 2010 

Chair, Board of Governors, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation 2010 

Episcopal Board, Good Leaders, Good Shepherds through Catholic Leadership Institute 

Episcopal Advisory Board, Catholic Leadership Institute 

Member, Board, Apostleship of Prayer 2010 

Member, Board of Trustees, Catholic University of America 2010 

Member, Episcopal Advisory Board for Augustine Institute 2011 

Member, Board of Directors of Cross Catholic Outreach 2012 

Member, Catholics Come Home Theological Advisory Board 2012 


Saint Paul Seminary, B.A. in Philosophy, 1966 

Saint Paul Seminary, M.Div./Master of Divinity, Saint Paul Seminary, 1976 

Catholic University of America, Licentiate in Canon Law, 1979 


Born to Robert and Jeanne Carlson on June 30, 1944, in Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Humanitarian of the Year Award, South Dakota Right to Life, October 3, 1998 

Cosmopolitan Club of Sioux Falls Distinguished Service Award, 2002 

The Institute for Priestly Formation, Our Lady of Guadalupe Award, 2003 

Knight Commander, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem 

Appointed an Honorary Canon by the Patriarch of Jerusalem for the Church of the Holy 

Sepulchre of Jerusalem, 2004 

Bishop Murphy Award for Leaders of Outstanding Faith, Diocese of Saginaw, April 24, 2009 

Service Award from Interfaith Partnership Faith Beyond Walls, September 22, 2011 

The Joseph Cardinal Ritter Award from Cardinal Ritter High School, February 10, 2012 

2012 Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff, SSND Leadership Award from the Today and Tomorrow 

Educational Foundation, April 26, 2012 

Service to the Community Award from the Ecumenical Leadership Council, May 29, 2012 

Previous Positions: 

Past President, National Foundation for Catholic Youth Ministry 

Past Chair, USCCB Committee on Vocations 

Past Chair, USCCB Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry 

Past Chair, USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Youth 

Past Chair, USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 2005-2008 

Former Member of USCCB Committee on Laity 

Former Member of USCCB Committee on Pastoral Practice 

Former Episcopal Moderator, USCCB Committee on Scouting, 1993-1997 

Former Episcopal Moderator, Serra International – USA/Canada Council, 1997-2001 

Past President, National Evangelization Teams (NET), 1989-2001 

Former Board Member St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, 

Former Board Member Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, Michigan 

Former Board Member The International Dominican Foundation 

Sampling of Recent Speeches/Presentations/Publications: 

“The Bishop as the Primary Formator,” The Institute for Priestly Formation, March, 2005 

Retreat Priests of the Diocese of Fargo, ND October 2009 

Retreat for Bishops of Region XII, Seattle, WA January 2008 

Retreat for Bishops of Texas Region, January 2009 

Retreat for Bishops of Region IX, January 2010 

Retreat Priests of Diocese of Lincoln 2010 

Pastoral Letter on Peace, December 12, 2008 

Pastoral Letter on Evangelization, January 6, 2008 

Pastoral Letter on Sacrament of Penance, January 25, 2008 

“El Obispo Como Protagonista de la Formacion” LA Revista Catolica, March 2008, 

pp. 6-14 

Challenges for Bishops in Fostering Unity Among Priests,” USCCB Spring Meeting June 2010