I was in Saginaw this morning when it was officially announced that their Bishop, Robert J. Carlson, was named the Archbishop of St. Louis. Bishop Carlson, who recently celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his episcopal ordination, has served the Church in a number of very important ways. He was first an Auxiliary Bishop for St. Paul, then Bishop of Sioux Falls, and most recently Bishop of Saginaw.
When he became Bishop of Saginaw he brought an idea with him that he had been implementing as Bishop of Sioux Falls. Believing that there are few things as important as the prayer life and sanctity of his priests and staff, Bishop Carlson offered to any priest, lay or religious parish administrator, and Chancery official the opportunity for regular spiritual direction. He brought spiritual directors to the diocese on a regular basis and paid their expenses. For the past four years I've flown from Milwaukee across Lake Michigan to Saginaw every month or so to provide spiritual direction for a dozen or so people.
Truly Bishop Carlson is a man of prayer! He faced cancer and through the intercession of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton has been in remission for several years.
Last December he wrote a Pastoral Letter entitled "Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace." In a section entitled "Eucharistic Adoration: Key to Peace," Bishop Carlson writes: "I believe that every person can help bring peace to the world. If you regularly place yourself in the presence of Christ, especially in the Blessed Sacrament, peace will first come to your own heart. If peace takes possession of your heart, it can spread through you to your family. If peace takes root in your family, it can flower and grow in your community and, ultimately, spread to the nation and the world."
With Fr. Luis Mesa, Bishop Carlson founded a religious community for men and women in Colombia--"Messengers of Peace." They are dedicated, according to Bishop's Pastoral Letter to "1) praying for peace, in Colombia and in the World, before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and 2) working to serve the poor."
I am excited that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is receiving such a man of prayer for its new Archbishop.
The full text of Bishop Carlson's Pastoral Letter on Peace can be found at: