Peace & Justice Commission Statement Regarding the Events in Charlottesville, VA

August 16, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

The Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St Louis expresses horror and sadness at the events which took place this weekend at the shameful and hate-filled "Unite the Right Rally" in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence instigated by the neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, white nationalists and white-supremacists in their confrontations with counter protestors resulted in three deaths and many injuries. We pray for the victims and their families.

As Catholics, we embrace the seven principles of Catholic social teaching as a central and essential element of our faith. Many of these principles were violated this past weekend. The first of the principles focuses on "Life and Human Dignity". Life and human dignity were clearly attacked this weekend leaving three people dead and many more injured. The principle of "Call to Family, Community and Participation" was violently assaulted by those who would divide our community based on race and creed. The principal of solidarity was also fiercely assailed. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) states "At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for our brothers and sisters demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict."

We support the USCCB in its call for peace. We agree with Jesuit Father James Martin who reminds us that racism is a sin, and states that "All Christians, all people of faith, should not only reject it, not only oppose it, but fight against it." We ask you to join us in rejecting all forms of hatred and racism and work with us to actively support the true justice that leads to peace. 

Archdiocese of St. Louis Statement Regarding The Events In Charlottesville, VA

August 14, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

The sad events over the weekend again remind us of the evils of intolerance and injustice.

Racism, or any ideology which seeks to undermine the dignity and worth of human beings simply because of the color of their skin, must be condemned. Our country has a detestable history with regard to the treatment of its citizens, including discrimination and hatred that undermine the God-given dignity of every human person. Unfortunately, some of our fellow citizens cling to these detestable ideas which are fueled by hate and ignorance. We must boldly march forward to a time when “love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.” (Ps. 85:11)

Just as light scatters the darkness, love and truth scatter evil. As Christians, we know that love and truth are found in the redemptive light of Jesus Christ. The foundation of our faith rests on the mandate Christ left us: to love one another as He loved us. If we choose this path, and follow Christ, He promises that we “may all be one.” But the oft-quoted commandment of Christ to love one’s neighbor is preceded by the oft-neglected commandment to “love God before all else.”

This forgotten admonition, to “love God before all else,” has placed our country, culture, and humanity in the hands of destructive nihilism and evil itself.

In 2014, in the midst of the protests in Ferguson, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said our nation must deal with the sin of racism. That remains true. Racism is a sin because it is contrary to human dignity. What we have seen in Charlottesville, Baltimore, Ferguson, and elsewhere, is the result of a society that has put racism, fascism, nationalism, socialism, individualism, and other ideologies in place of God. These ideologies tear down human dignity because they determine human worth based not as we are, as beloved children of God, but based on race, class, or what one can do with one’s body. This is precisely why we must be adamantly outspoken against the legality of the grave evil of abortion. If we cannot see the connection in our society between the ability to kill a vulnerable, innocent child in the womb and the ability to hate a person based simply on the color of their skin, we are, truly, a nation without hope. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: “If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” How can those of us who live in a society where a woman can kill the child in her very womb be shocked when those who dwell on the fringe of society hate their neighbor because of the color of their skin?

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is committed to being an instrument of justice and peace. We engage daily in works of healing and reconciliation. We are committed to Christ's mission to bring forth his kingdom by prayer and laboring for justice and peace in our nation and world. We pray that all men and women will love one another as Christ loved us.

In addition to our daily, unceasing prayer that everyone be treated as God’s beloved children, we invite you to please join us in our efforts:

  • August 21, 2017: Disciples of Peace & Justice, Rosary commemorating the three-year journey of discipleship after the death of Michael Brown, 6:30 p.m., Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish's Our Lady of Lourdes grotto, 150 N Elizabeth Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135

For information on these events and more, visit

Note: This statement was published as an editorial by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson in the August 21-27, 2017 St. Louis Review and can be found at

Statement on the Passing of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen

August 10, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement upon the death of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen:

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, a good friend and a beloved shepherd of the Maronite Catholic community.

I ask that the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis join me in praying for the repose of the soul of Bishop Shaheen. Bishop Elias Zaidan and the faithful of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

 May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.


Click here for an obituary in the St. Louis Review

EMPOWER St. Louis Training: A Training Day for All Adults Serving in Youth Ministry

Every year around September the Office of Youth Ministry has Training and ongoing Formation for all Youth Ministers, Adult Youth Leaders, Core Members, and Volunteers to better prepare them for the mission field of Youth Ministry. 

Our next Training Day will be Saturday, September 9, 2017. The Office of Youth Ministry is excited to be working with Life Teen this September! This is a day for all adults who serve in youth ministry. Registrations will be made through the Life Teen website, but you do not have to be a Life Teen member to attend. This Empower Training Day is designed to help all types of youth programs and their leaders!

Event: EMPOWER St. Louis Training

Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017

What: This will be a full day of training for all adults working in youth ministry.

Where: Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Time:  Check-in and breakfast are from 8:20 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Training will be 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more details, and to register, visit

Statement of Archbishop Carlson on Passing of Senate Bill 5 in Special Session of Missouri Legislature

July 25, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement at the conclusion of the special session of the Missouri Legislature today:

The passage of Senate Bill 5 by the Missouri Legislature is a welcome resolution to a protracted special session. This important pro-life legislation will save the lives of unborn children, safeguard the health and safety of women, and protect the freedom of pregnancy resource centers to hire whom they choose.

Senate Bill 5, though laudable, does not completely overturn the “abortion sanctuary” ordinance in the City of St. Louis; thus, the lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and others against the City of St. Louis and ordinance 70459 will continue.

Ultimately, the worth of this special session will not be determined by the money spent, but by the number of lives saved, of which we may never have an exact accounting.

In closing, I urge any woman struggling with her pregnancy, or anyone wounded by abortion, to seek hope and healing through the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis by calling 314.792.7555. The Church stands ready to offer assistance to anyone who truly seeks God’s mercy.


Sunday's Performance of Fr. Scheid Players' Production - Fiddler on the Roof - is Sold Out! Tickets Available at Door for Friday & Saturday Performances!

The Catholic Youth Apostolate is pleased to announce that the Fr. William Scheid Players will continue their 38th season with Fiddler on the Roof. Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia.

This year’s cast of over 100 will feature six priests of the Archdiocese, including:

  • Monsignor John Borcic of St. Mary Magdalen Parish
  • Fr. Terry Borgerding of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Marthasville
  • Fr. John Brennell of Seven Holy Founders Parish in Affton
  • Monsignor Norb Ernst of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish
  • Fr. Henry Purcell of Immaculate Conception-Dardenne Parish
  • Fr. Bill Wigand of Regina Cleri

Also performing will be dozens of talented grade school, teenage, and adult performers from 40 different parishes in the Archdiocese!

This year marks the group’s 38th anniversary of presenting Broadway plays, reviews, and musicals featuring Archdiocesan clergy and laity to raise funds for the youth programs of the Catholic Youth Apostolate.

Performance dates are:

  • Friday, July 21 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, July 23 at 2:00 pm (SOLD OUT!)

All performances will be at Incarnate Word Academy, 2788 Normandy Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63121.

Tickets are available at the door for $15. The Incarnate Word Academy Theatre is handicapped accessible. For additional ticket information, please contact Ann Madden at (314) 846-1060 or email

Thank you for your continued support of the Catholic Youth Apostolate!

Vatican-Approved Pilgrimage Site at Old Cathedral Announced

July 18, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, has designated the Basilica of Saint Louis, King (the “Old Cathedral” at 209 Walnut) and its historic statue of Our Lady of Fatima as a destination for pilgrims in the Archdiocese of St. Louis during the centennial anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, which took place May-October 1917.

Pope Francis granted the opportunity for Catholics to obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima by making a pilgrimage to Portugal, or by visiting with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that is “solemnly exposed for public veneration” such as the statue in the Basilica.

An official announcement from the World Apostolate of Fatima reads:

“To the faithful who visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly exposed for public veneration in any church, oratory or proper place during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions, the 13th of each month from May to October 2017, and there devoutly participate in some celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary.  In addition, the faithful must pray the Our Father, recite the Creed and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.”

Remaining dates on which Catholics may obtain a plenary indulgence by visiting the Fatima statue in the Basilica are August 13, September 13, and October 13.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an indulgence is “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.” Indulgences can be partial if they remove part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment. With the help of the Church, which is the “minister of redemption,” a properly disposed Christian can obtain an indulgence only under certain prescribed conditions; these include some form of devotion or charitable work, prayers for the pope, participation in Mass, and recourse to the sacraments.

The significance of the Fatima statue in the Basilica dates back to 1970 when John Cardinal Carberry, then-Archbishop of St. Louis, led a delegation of pilgrims to Fatima, 53 years after the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young shepherd children there. The children saw and spoke to Mary, who urged the entire world to pray fervently. Thousands witnessed miraculous events during the apparitions, including the sun “dancing” in the sky. Upon his return, Cardinal Carberry – the first English-speaking prelate to celebrate Mass at the Fatima shrine – directed that a replica of the Fatima statue be placed in the Basilica. The three-foot statue was a gift from then-Bishop John Venancio of Leiria, Portugal.

The Basilica is open Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. For Mass times and more information, visit


Peace & Justice Commission Statement Regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act

June 27, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS - The Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis released the following statement regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act:

Christ reminds us that we serve Him directly when we care for the sick and the needy: ..." For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me...." [Matthew 25:35-36].

The Senate is considering legislation which will profoundly affect health care delivery to all Americans. A positive element of the Better Care Reconciliation Act is that it recognizes that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this would correct a flaw in the current Affordable Care Act by fully applying the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde Amendment protections.

However, it is also anticipated that this Act will decrease support to Medicaid, which provides medical coverage for low-income persons, many of whom are children or the elderly. Those with pre-existing medical conditions could lose the protections that formerly enabled them to obtain affordable healthcare. In the coming years, it is estimated that 22 million people will lose their health insurance under this Act according to the Congressional Budget Office.

As Catholics, we are called to advocate for the poor and the powerless in our midst. In their response to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the USCCB notes "...It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written. An acceptable health care system provides access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life...." Furthermore, the Act fails to put into place conscience protections for all those involved in the health care system.

The Peace and Justice Commission stands with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and people of good will across this country in who are working to address this critical issue. We invite everyone to join with us in prayer that our legislators reflect on the harmful effects that the Act would impose on those our faith requires us to protect and we ask them to responsibly make the changes necessary to protect the poor and the powerless.


Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Responds to Supreme Court Ruling in Trinity v. Comer

June 26, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling in Trinity v. Comer affirms the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Churches, schools, and charitable organizations run by religious institutions provide incalculable benefits for our communities. To deny these organizations public benefits simply because they are religious is to deny this reality.

“My hope is that Trinity is a milestone in a re-awakening to the importance of religious liberty in the United States. Though we celebrate today’s decision, we know there is much more work to be done. I pledge to continue the fight for religious liberty when government withholds benefits or imposes burdensome mandates on individuals and institutions.”


Click here to read the statement from the USCCB on Trinity v. Comer

Register Today for the CYC Sports Summit!


Register today for the CYC SPORTS SUMMIT which will take place on Saturday, July 29th from 9 am – 2 pm at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury.

You know CYC is about a lot more than winning and losing!  Join us for this great day to help you take your coaching beyond the lines and truly impact the lives of the youth that you work with day in and day out. 

Throughout four sessions and table discussions, we will dive deeper into how to integrate faith and athletics - in practices, in games, and in everyday life. There is no better teaching tool than sports! Speakers include Thomas Wurtz from Varsity Catholic, former MLB Pitcher Bobby Keppel, Fr. McGivney High School Volleyball coach and Faith Formation Coordinator Amanda Pirih.

The cost is $10, and registration includes lunch and refreshments. Space is limited. Visit to register today!

Restorative Justice in Catholic Schools Leads Restorative Faith Communities Nationwide

June 12, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

WHAT: 2017 Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline (VBRD) Summer Institute
WHERE: Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive, Shrewsbury, MO 63119
WHEN: Tuesday – Thursday, June 13-15, 2017

ST. LOUIS – The Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will host the 2017 Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline (VBRD) Summer Institute, June 13-15, 2017, beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily at the Cardinal Rigali Center (20 Archbishop May Drive, 63119).

Over 200 educators from 52 schools will attend this comprehensive training in VBRD, a Catholic response to bullying. This 5th annual summer institute will expand to define and identify restorative faith community life beyond schools.

Teams will be trained to prevent and reduce antisocial behaviors through virtue education and restorative practices, resulting in a consistent message that upholds the dignity of the human person. Parents, school personnel, and parish staff will learn ways to maintain a positive environment in which adults and youth are accountable and responsible for holy habits of human excellence. While discipline is viewed as formative rather than punitive, the quality of all relationships becomes the greatest asset with which to build a happier, more productive community.

Sessions will include: Foundations of VBRD, Restorative Practices, Guiding Principles, Engaging Parents, and Successful Class Meetings. A Restorative Leadership track for administrators will result in establishing implementation action plans for the coming school year that extend to the community. Workshops will run in three tracks tailored to the needs of registrants from novice to expert.

Media is welcome to attend most events. Special events to note:

Tuesday, June 13
3:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Community Reflection on Restorative Practices
Guest Presenter: Monsignor Jack Costello, pastor of St. Peter Parish, Kirkwood.
This event will end with a dinner reception sponsored by Social Action Virtue Education (S.A.V.E.), a community VBRD outreach organization funded through Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and named one of Pope Francis’ World Popular Movements.

Thursday, June 15

8:30 a.m. - Best practices in VBRD showcase features both school and community projects.
11:00 a.m. - Research Team from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, reports findings on impact of VBRD in this first year. Research is underwritten by a grant from Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. - A panel discussion on Restorative Communities

  • Kurt Nelson, PhD., Superintendent for Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • Father John Mayo, Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Warrenton
  • Mrs. Lori Racine, Principal, Holy Rosary School, Warrenton
  • Mrs. Beena Bryant, parent and S.A.V.E. board member, Holy Trinity School, St. Ann

 1:30 p.m. - The event will close with a Commissioning Service led by Father John Mayo Catholic school communities from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and from Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin will attend.

“This is our fifth year for this unique training,” said Lynne Lang, Director of School Climate at the Catholic Education Office. “Our returning schools are a testimony to the success of this work in our BeOne initiative. The closing ceremony will recognize schools that implemented VBRD with fidelity in the 2016-17 school year.”


Annual Health and Safety Summit for Catholic Schools

June 6, 2017
For more information contact: 
Sue Brown
Director of Marketing & Community Relations, Catholic Education Office
Phone: 314.792.7304

WHAT: Archdiocese of St. Louis Health and Safety Summit
WHERE: John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, 500 Woods Mill Rd., Manchester, MO
WHEN: June 8, 2017 – 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Program begins at 8:15 a.m. with welcome and prayer)

ST. LOUIS – The Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will host the annual Health and Safety Summit on Thursday, June 8, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School (500 Woods Mill Rd., Manchester, MO).

Keynote speaker, Julie Smith, an adjunct communications professor at Webster University and board member of the Gateway Media Literacy Partners, will speak on the topic “Why We’re Missing the Point in Digital Citizenship” at 8:30-9:45 a.m. Break-out sessions begin at 9:55 a.m.

A total of 30 presenters are scheduled for morning and afternoon sessions. Topics include “Dealing with Grief,” “Head Injury and Concussion,” and Protecting God’s Children” for certification. The second round of morning break-out sessions begin at 11:05 a.m. Afternoon sessions begin at 1:05 p.m.

The numerous break-out sessions during the conference are intended for a wide-range of attendees including pastors, principals, teachers, Parish School of Religion (PSR) coordinators and catechists, school nurses, maintenance personnel and athletic directors. Currently over 300 participants are registered for the summit, representing Catholic school and parish personnel across the Archdiocese of St. Louis.


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