Annual Memorial Mass Remembers Abortion Victims

January 14, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

Mass at Cathedral Basilica on Saturday Commemorates Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

WHAT: Annual Roe v. Wade Memorial Mass, hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate
WHERE: Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (4431 Lindell)
WHEN: Saturday, January 16, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
WHO: Archbishop Robert Carlson and more than 500 pro-life supporters

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, will celebrate the annual Roe v. Wade Memorial Mass on Saturday, January 16, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973, which legalized abortion in the United States. The Mass is hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Mass will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be preceded by a procession of individuals born in every year since 1973, including a woman due with a child in 2016, to represent the more than 57 million children lost due to abortion during these 43 years. A solemn rosary procession to Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Boulevard will follow Mass. More than 500 people are expected to attend.

“We have a rich history of defending the unborn in the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” said Karen Nolkemper, Executive Director of the Respect Life Apostolate. “This annual Mass is an opportunity to join together in prayer as we commemorate the lives lost, give thanks for the lives saved, and re-commit to defending life and transforming our culture.”

Next week, hundreds of thousands of pro-life pilgrims will descend on Washington, D.C. for the 43rd annual March for Life. More than 2,200 students, volunteers, and chaperones from Catholic schools and parishes will depart the St. Louis area on Wednesday, January 20, as part of the annual pilgrimage known as “Generation Life” or “GenLifeSTL." The pilgrimage is organized by the Catholic Youth Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis was the first in the nation to establish a Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) following the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The purpose of the RLA is to promote the Catholic Church’s teachings on respect for and legal protection of every human life from conception to natural death by coordinating educational, spiritual, pastoral, and public policy advocacy efforts with particular focus on those issues in the culture that threaten life - abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and unethical advances in scientific technology. In addition to the annual Memorial Mass in January, the RLA hosts its annual convention in October, which is Respect Life Month.


Archbishop Carlson on Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue

An Everlasting Love

Join us in supporting those in our community carrying the cross of infertility.
Annual Infertility Support Mass
Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 7:00PM
Cardinal Rigali Center Chapel
Bishop Edward Rice, Celebrant
20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119
Light refreshments will follow the Mass in the Archbishop May Room. Reservations are not necessary, but questions can be directed to the Office of Natural Family Planning, 314.997.7576.

Catholic Parish to Host Presentation on Groundbreaking Study

January 8, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

Dr. Jason Purnell to address neighborhood health issues at St. Clare in Ellisville

What: Presentation on Groundbreaking Study, “For the Sake of All”
Where: St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church (15642 Clayton Road, Ellisville, MO 63011)
When: Monday, January 11, 2016, 7 p.m.
Who: Dr. Jason Purnell, member of the Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – Dr. Jason Purnell, member of the Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Washington University professor, will present on his groundbreaking study “For the Sake of All” at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church (15642 Clayton Road, Ellisville, MO 63011) on Monday, January 11, 2016. The presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The presentation will address how neighborhood factors such as access to healthy food options, quality schools, clean air, and services and amenities like banks and parks can shape health throughout life. He will also address the fact that policies and informal practices throughout the nation and in our region have divided neighborhoods based on race, social class, or both, which affects the opportunity for all residents to live healthy, productive lives. In addition, he will discuss solutions for investing in quality neighborhoods for all.

“As Catholics, we must address these issues from the perspective of our faith,” said Marie Kenyon, director of the Peace & Justice Commission. “This presentation is a step towards ensuring residents of our area are aware of the inequality found in our region and to remind them that we all have an obligation to ensure every child is raised in a healthy environment.”

In August 2014, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced that he was re-establishing a commission on human rights in the Archdiocese of St. Louis with the goal to address societal issues such as poverty, racial tension, and lack of education. In January 2015, St. Louis attorney Marie Kenyon was named director of the newly-established Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and in May 2015 Archbishop Carlson appointed 27 individuals to serve as members of the Commission.


Statement From Archbishop Carlson Regarding Flood Relief Assistance

January 7, 2016
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement regarding the recent flooding in our region and the on-going response of the Archdiocese of St. Louis:

I have been fervently praying for those suffering due to the recent flooding in our city and state. As our region watched the flood waters rise to record heights, so too did we see the damage, loss, and suffering increase. We mourn for those who lost their lives. We know that many homes full of memories have been destroyed. Photos, heirlooms, and other keepsakes are lost. Businesses were devastated and will need extensive repairs. Yet, we are also thankful for the many homes, businesses, and lives saved through the bravery and dedication of emergency responders and volunteers.

Although the floodwaters have mostly receded, the needs are still very great. But our generosity must be greater. That is why I am directing all parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to hold a special collection the weekend of January 16-17 to assist in recovery efforts through Catholic Charities. Financial assistance, rather than clothing or food, is the most needed resource at this time.

Catholic Charities of St. Louis is a coordinating organization in the disaster relief assistance effort. The role of Catholic Charities is to assist now with the relocation and other services for those affected by the flood, as well as sustained long-term disaster recovery. We will continue to work closely with all agencies and authorities in the coming days, weeks, and months to help restore lives and livelihoods.

Those most impacted by the flooding will be recovering long after the water has disappeared. It is my pledge that the Catholic Church will continue serving those in the impacted areas until these needs are met. This is our responsibility as Catholics, especially during this Year of Mercy.

Those seeking flood relief assistance should visit a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in the coming days where representatives from numerous agencies, including Catholic Charities, will be present. Additional information, including information for those looking to volunteer or donate, can be found at


The Year of Mercy and the Gospel of Life

On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy in Misericordiae vultusWhen one thinks of mercy, particularly in the context of our Catholic faith, forgiveness and the Sacrament of Confession come to mind. Something deeper, however, is going on. At its core, this Jubilee Year of Mercy focuses us on restoring our dignity as sons and daughters of God; it is intimately connected with the Gospel of Life and its call for a greater respect and defense of human dignity.

In declaring the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis stated, “This Holy Year will bring to the fore the richness of Jesus’ mission echoed in the words of the prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, to restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, to restore dignity to all those from who it has been robbed” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 16). Yet, how does a focus on mercy restore human dignity?

Human Dignity and Mercy

Perhaps the clearest connection between the Gospel of Life and the concept of mercy can be found in St. John Paul II’s encyclical Dives in Misericordia, promulgated in 1980. In reflecting on the parable of the Prodigal Son, The Return of the Prodigal Sonhe focuses on the interior disposition of the son who realizes that the greater loss he has suffered was the loss of his status as a son in his father’s house. The loss of the son’s dignity would certainly be warranted under the order of justice for not only squandering his father’s material goods but also by offending his father in his actions. The father, however, is faithful to the love he has in his fatherhood. Love is the well-spring from which the mercy of the father springs. This love causes the father to be concerned about the dignity of his son. Despite the material loss caused by the son, the father sees the greater good to be saved: the son’s humanity. The father is able to rejoice because his greatest concern is of the dignity of the son; he cannot help but continually await his son’s return.

From this reflection, we see that, fundamentally, mercy, rooted in love, restores human dignity. St. John Paul II puts it this way: “Mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man” (Dives in Misericordia, no. 6). This type of mercy, rather than humiliating or causing uneasiness, restores one to his or her proper dignity. We see the attitude of the father not as one seeking to judge or condemn the prodigal son, however much he may have deserved it; rather, the father is filled with joy. The son is able to appreciate who he is and his actions in the light of truth.

A Divine Dignity

This dignity is also what lies at the center of the Gospel of Life, that is, a profound relationship between human beings and God. The Gospel of Life is about proclaiming the desire of God to be in an everlasting communion with us, granting us a dignity “little less than a god, crowned…with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:6). As St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, “Man, as a being, is of no account; he is dust, grass, vanity. But once he is adopted by the God of the universe as a son, he becomes part of the family of that Being, whose excellence and greatness no one can see, hear, or understand. What words, thoughts, or flight of the spirit can praise the superabundance of this grace? Man surpasses his nature: mortal, he becomes immortal; perishable, he becomes imperishable; fleeting, he becomes eternal; human, he becomes divine” (De Beatitudinibus, Oratio VII).

Merciful Like the Father

This call to share in the very life of God is the source of the incomparable dignity and worth of each human person. It is this dignity which we seek to uphold and defend in working to end abortion, prevent euthanasia, and in serving the poor. Every person is created for and designed to exist in an eternal relationship with God. Violations of a person’s dignity inhibit one’s ability to freely live in that communion.

In Evangelium vitae, St. John Paul II points out that, even after Cain slays his brother, God is still merciful to him, protecting and defending him from others wishing to kill him, even those seeking to avenge the death of Abel. He says that “not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this” showing for “the paradoxical mystery of the merciful justice of God” (Evangelium vitae, no. 9). Even in the face of grave sin which ripped away another’s dignity, God remains merciful.

There is a reason why feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful and so forth are called works of mercy: they restore dignity to those from whom it has been taken. As Pope Francis states, “Mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible.” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 9) These acts, in imitation of Christ, speak of the mercy of the Father and make visible the great love the Father has for each and every one of his children.

Building a Culture of Life is therefore intimately tied with being heralds of mercy. We bring mercy to the unborn child at risk of abortion for they are on “the outermost fringes of society” with no voice. We bring mercy to those impacted by abortion by speaking of the peace and forgiveness found in Christ Jesus. We bring mercy to those sentenced to death, recalling the mercy God had on Cain in Genesis. We bring mercy to those seeking physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia or those who are at risk of being victims by confirming their dignity as sons and daughters of God and sharing in their suffering.

Thus, as Pope Francis calls for the Church to “announce the mercy of God,” it is truly a command to recognize the God-given dignity of every human person and to help them realize it in themselves. To do so may require stepping outside of our comfort zones or breaking down our lens of indifference to see situations from a different perspective. By being “merciful like the Father” in charitable acts towards others, invitations to return to the Sacraments, prayers, and evangelization, may we reveal the love of God for every person.

This article originally appeared on Catholic Stand and is reprinted with permission.

Archbishop Carlson to Celebrate Christmas Midnight Mass

December 23, 2015
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

WHAT: Christmas Midnight Mass
WHEN: Midnight, Friday, December 25; music beginning at 11 p.m., December 24
WHERE: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (4431 Lindell)

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, will celebrate Midnight Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (4431 Lindell) for the feast of Christmas, the day Catholics celebrate the birth of Christ. A music program will begin at 11 p.m., December 24.

Christmas follows four weeks of Advent, the season when Catholics prepare for the coming of the Lord. The Christmas Season traditionally concludes after twelve days on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, although in the United States the feast is currently celebrated on the Sunday between January 2nd and 8th.

Archbishop Carlson will also celebrate the 10 a.m. Mass on Christmas morning. Additional Christmas Masses at the Cathedral Basilica will begin at 8 a.m. and noon, with a Vigil Mass at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve.


January Theology on Tap

Join us for our January Theology on Tap! In light of respect life month, it will feature Dr. Ed Hogan speaking on A Just Mercy: A Catholic Approach to the Death Penalty. It will be on January 12th, 2016 at 7 pm at Kirkwood Station Brewing Co.

We look forward to having you and invite you to bring a friend!


CSW Open House Dates and Times

A Catholic school can open doors to your child's future, and Catholic Schools Week officially begins Sunday, January 31, 2016, and the doors of Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be open to welcome you!

Alive in Christ, our 113 Catholic elementary schools offer academic excellence, faith formation, financial assistance, and a Department of Special Education with ten schools and centers.

Most open houses will be held on Sunday, January 31, 2016. A few schools have selected alternate dates.

Please refer to the link below for dates and times for each school.

By next year, YOUR child could be a part of the faith community within a Catholic school!

Visit us anytime in person, especially during Catholic Schools Week, and online at!

Please click on the title of this article to access the list of Open Houses.





Lwanga Center Bible Study / Testimonial Dinner & Auction

Our Bible Study resumes on consecutive Wednesdays from January 6, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.  We will explore and pray with the Book of Ruth and continue with the Books of Kings.  Please bring a Bible.  The New American Edition is preferred.  There is no charge for the sessions.  Free will offerings to the Center are always welcome.

Come and join us at the 33rd Testimonial Dinner/Auction on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel.  The theme for the event is Keeping Hope Alive...God Has Not Fogotten Us. Dinner Tickets are $65.00 each/table of 10 for $650.00. The 50/50 Raffle tickets are $10.00 each.  Doors open for the silent auction at 2:30 p.m.  The dinner program begins at 4:00 p.m.  Tickets are available through your sponsoring parish or organization representative or by calling, visiting the Lwanga Center.  The number is 314-367-7929.


Year of Mercy Begins Sunday in Archdiocese of St. Louis

December 7, 2015
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Community Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

What: Ceremonial opening of the center narthex doors of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Where: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (4431 Lindell Blvd.)
When: Sunday, December 13, before 10 a.m. Mass.
Who: Most Reverend Edward Rice, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
Why: To begin the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis in April

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Edward Rice, auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, will open the center narthex doors of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in a special ceremony Sunday, December 13, prior to the regularly scheduled 10 a.m. Mass. The ceremony will mark the local beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The doors were sealed on September 8, to remind the faithful to prepare their hearts for the Jubilee.

In April, Pope Francis declared the Catholic Church would celebrate a “Holy Year,” known as an “Extraordinary Jubilee Year,” dedicated to the virtue of Mercy. The “Year of Mercy,” as it has been deemed, will begin on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015, when the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican will be opened. However, on November 29, during his recent trip to Africa, Pope Francis also symbolically opened the Holy Door in a special ceremony at the cathedral of Bangui, Central African Republic. The Year of Mercy will conclude on Sunday, November 20, 2016, which is the end of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year, The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

The idea of a “Jubilee Year” traces its origins to the Israelites who celebrated a Jubilee every fifty years according to scriptural custom. Pope Boniface VIII called for the first recorded “ordinary Jubilee” in 1300. Twenty-five ordinary Jubilees have been called since, roughly every 25 years, though an “extraordinary” Jubilee can be called by a pontiff at any time. Pope John Paul II declared the most recent extraordinary Jubilee in 1983, while the most recent ordinary Jubilee Year took place in 2000.

One of the traditions for a Jubilee Year is the ceremonial opening of the Holy Door in each of the four major basilicas in Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica. The opening, passing through, and sealing of the Holy Door at the end of the Jubilee Year have become significant elements in the Church’s Jubilee Year celebrations with special graces and what is called a “Jubilee Indulgence” offered to pilgrims who make the journey.

Because most Catholics will be unable to make a pilgrimage during this Jubilee Year to visit the four major basilicas in Rome, for the first time in history Pope Francis has asked for a Holy Door in every diocese around the world, especially in the minor basilicas. Diocesan bishops also have the authority to establish other sacred places or special churches that can be pilgrimage locations.

Pilgrimage sites in the Archdiocese of St. Louis include our two minor basilicas - the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis and the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France - and seven other local pilgrimage sites.

More information about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, including a calendar of events and a complete list of local pilgrimage sites, can be found at


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