.- The Cathedral of Saint Louis was packed on Wednesday afternoon as Archbishop Robert J. Carlson was installed as the Archbishop of Saint Louis. In his homily, the new archbishop pledged to oppose the prevailing secular culture and to continue his dedication to fostering priestly vocations.
Large crowds gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis as early as 10:30 a.m. for a Mass that began at 2:00 p.m. The eager attendees included not only priests and religious, but many lay faithful as well.
The new Archbishop greeted the people with “great affection,” thanking them for their “warm welcome.”
In his homily, Carlson spoke of the Church’s spiritual unity in Christ, while at the same time celebrating “the diversity of gifts and graces” present in the local community. In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the archbishop mentioned “a strong Catholic school system, contemplative and active religious communities, dynamic outreach to the poor, excellent Catholic health care, the presence of a diocesan seminary and a commitment to evangelization”as some of the strengths.
The archbishop also challenged his new flock, saying, “If we want to share in the glory of Christ we must do what He tells us in today's Gospel: Take up our cross and follow Him. I can tell you from my experience — and you know from your own — it is no easy task!”
“But we can strengthen and encourage each other if we do it together,” he continued, asking for prayers from the community of the faithful.
Vowing to stand strong against the secular culture, Archbishop Carlson proclaimed, “We will never compromise our commitment to life!”
The new Archbishop also spoke of the rich and abundant religious communities present in the Archdiocese as an inspiration along the path to holiness. “With your vowed commitment to poverty, chastity and obedience you teach us all how to live after the mind of Christ,” he said.
Reaching out to his brother priests with his promise of prayers and support, he also told them, “You will be my closest collaborators in ministry.”
“I will never ordain a priest that I do not know,” he added.
In his previous assignments, Carlson was known for his success at fostering vocations through efforts that included holding dinners for young men, Eucharistic adoration within parishes, and seminarian visits. During his homily today, he promised the people of St. Louis that he would be committed to “raising up new and worthy vocations” in the archdiocese.
Looking forward, Carlson expressed his eagerness to become a part of the parish communities and serve the needs of the people. He concluded his homily with the words of St. Jose Maria Escriva, “In the Church there is a diversity of ministries, but there is only one aim — the sanctification of all.”
Following the Installation Mass, a public reception was held at Rosati-Kain High School, where Archbishop Carlson greeted hundreds of the faithful.
Bishop Robert Carlson was appointed by Pope Benedict last April to succeed Archbishop Raymond Burke as the Archbishop of Saint Louis. Prior to this appointment, Carlson, a native of Minneapolis, MN, had been bishop of Saginaw, MI since 2005, and bishop of Sioux Falls, SD since 1994.