DACA Prayer Vigil

We received a series of messages from Gabriele Eissner, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at Saint Francis Community Services, regarding this evening’s DACA Prayer Vigil, which has now been renamed Celebration of Hope Following #DACAdecision. We share them here:

Hi everyone!

This morning (Thursday, June 18, 2020), the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA. This is wonderful news and gives us reason to celebrate! Tomorrow night we are still planning on having an event from 5PM-8PM, but this event will now be a celebration of hope rather than a vigil. We will be in touch with more information by the end of the day.

I am allowing myself time to bask in the hope and joy that I feel right now, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this ruling comes as the Trump administration is tearing apart our asylum system and our country is confronting our long history of racism. There is still much work to be done. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

UPDATE: After hearing feedback from all of you and in the spirit of celebration, we have decided to shorten the event. It will now take place from 6PM-8PM. See attached for an updated schedule. Please make sure that your message fits within the allotted time frame. Although we expect some deviations from the schedule, we will try to stick as closely to it as possible.

We will be sending out the Zoom link in the morning. Just click this link 15 minutes before you are scheduled to present to enter the presenters’ space. Susan or I will send you a message when it is time for you to unmute yourself and speak. The attached outline has more detailed guidance.

These are extremely simplified instructions, so please reach out if you have any questions. We appreciate all the time and effort you have put into making this possible!

You can also find the link to the the Facebook event here​.



Father’s Love

Today (Thursday), Jesus teaches us how to pray, specifically he provides the words to the most familiar prayer in all the world, “The Our Father,” or the Lord’s Prayer. Everything we need to know about prayer is contained in the Lord’s Prayer. Trusting the Father’s will, asking for daily help, and seeking the forgiveness of sins are all the essentials of prayer.

Before the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Mt. 6:8).” As I began praying with this today, my thoughts immediately went to my own father, my earthly father. With Fathers’ Day around the corner, and knowing I have not purchased a gift, nor a card, I wondered what to do. Then I remembered his love for me, along with a couple of times I have not felt so loved. Did my dad know what I needed? Then it dawned on me: whatever I have thought I needed, or even think now, what I always need is my father’s love. And more to the point, my Father’s love. My earthly father has loved me from the beginning and has done his best to share God’s love with me as well. Yet we all know, there is no way our earthly father can give us all the love we need. Yet our earthly father can prepare us to seek the Father’s love. It is our Father in heaven who knows what we need; and we always need our Father’s love, the Holy Spirit, revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So let us be grateful to our fathers on this coming Fathers’ Day; and let us forgive our fathers, letting go of any resentments which may be whispering still in our hearts. And let us open our hearts to the love of our heavenly Father who remains faithful in every moment of our life journey.

We will not continue our Eucharistic procession tomorrow due to a scheduling conflict with a wedding rehearsal; we will be back on June 26. God bless you all as we prepare to celebrate the beautiful Feasts of the Sacred heart of Jesus and the Immaculate heart of Mary on Friday and Saturday.

Deepening Requires Descent

Today is Friday…Sunday is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.  Normally, we would pray the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary today and then turn our attention to the abundance of God’s love all around us and within us as we honor the Trinity.  Nothing is normal today.  The truth of the COVID-19 pandemic had just sunk into our consciousness; we had just begun to imagine a little way out of our “stay at home,” including the opportunity for public worship; and now we see streets filled with protesters and other streets marred by rioters, even all around us in our parish.  I suspect in our prayer we have all uttered, “Lord, this is too much.”

Jesus’ proclamation of the Gospel began with the deepest, most profound and always true, “The Kingdom of God is at hand; the Kingdom of God is within you.”  That was true when he calls his first disciples; that is true when he preaches his sermon on the mount; that is true when he carries his cross; that is true when he dies on the cross; and it is true when he is raised from the dead.  It is true whenever we choose to love.

Whether it is federal troops on horseback throwing pepper balls into crowds of protesters or young raging lost men breaking windows in Johnnie’s Market, we are seeing signs of a shattering all around us; indeed the “foundations are shaking…(Is. 6:3-4).”  In our own lives, in our community, in our culture, in our country and, indeed, throughout the world, something is ready to be born; the corollary is also true: something is dying.  We naturally cling to what is no longer able to sustain us because it has sustained us until now.  By God’s grace, however, we find the strength to let go, even to journey more deeply into the heart of darkness, to descend more honestly into the very center of the wound.  Only then can we greet the dawn; only then can we heal the wound.

This moment is a poignant and painful revelation of the Paschal Mystery we celebrate in every Eucharist and the mystery of life and love we are called to trust in every moment.  God is with us; God is for us; God is within us; God is on the cross; God is risen from the dead.  The two or three lost souls who broke into Johnnie’s Market are not more powerful than the love poured out by the community to keep the market open.  

It is impossible for us to know the gravity of a wound which has been inflicted harshly over the centuries.  There is no excuse for anyone to do harm to another.  The buying and selling of millions of African Slaves all over the world for over three hundred years is deep wound which festers in the psyche of every living soul in the world.  Not one of us living now is responsible for slavery.  And we must take responsibility for healing the wound.  The next few steps in that journey of healing, which alone can bring peace and justice, will be further descent.  If we descend with faith, with love, with hope, with courage and together with all our brothers and sisters, we know God will accompany us and raise us up.  

While it seems all around us is collapsing, we know, in the depths of our souls, that God is making all things new.  I commend to you this beautiful interview with Blanca, especially her powerful song, “Shattered.”  And let me just say again, listening to JoyFM can be healing in itself.  God’s word is woven through every song.  

We will continue our Eucharistic Procession this evening, Friday, at 6:00.  And we will continue the procession until Christ’s peace reings in all our hearts and everywhere in our community.

Please know my love for you and my desire to work with you for the healing and peace God is ready to bring into our lives and the lives of all our brothers and sisters.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  

Racism, Peace and Justice in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

The Covid-19 Pandemic has left us all vulnerable, perhaps a bit frayed at the edges.  The events flowing from the killing of George Floyd and erupting throughout the country, including in St. Louis are evidence of unhealed wounds.  The two issues have conflated in such a way as to challenge our faith, hope and love.  Please listen to Archbishop Carlson and trust the deeper truth of our love one another.  Christ has conquered sin and death.  Our love for one another is stronger than fear.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this time of great turmoil, I ask you to quiet your hearts and listen with me to the message of the peaceful protests we are seeing across our nation. They are asking for justice with peace as the goal.

As people of faith, we begin with the fact that no matter the color of our skin, we are all made in the image and likeness of God. My friend Jimmy Munford was an African American man who went ashore on the second day of the landing at Normandy. He said to me: “Archbishop, I walked through the blood of white men and black men and red men and yellow men. There was no difference in the color of their blood.”

We have lost our way as a nation because of prejudice and selfishness and jealousy. Recent events and protests are only the latest symptoms of a longstanding and underlying cultural sickness. There is no moral framework for the fact that each of us has Christ in us and with us. Jesus wanted us to open our hearts to His powerful love, and to be His face and voice and arms and ears for every person who crosses the path of our lives.

We give people life when we accompany all in developing to their full human potential—into the people God created them to be.

This means providing quality education that leads to employment and fair wages, pathways to progress for families in need of healing and structure, access to health care for the uninsured, helping people develop skills and find jobs, rehabbing houses in distress to provide affordable housing, support for people experiencing homelessness, and mental health services. Importantly, we must look at why people do not have access to so many of these things. Catholic Charities of St. Louis and Society of St. Vincent de Paul conferences in our parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis have done a great deal of work on all of those fronts. But there’s much more to be done, as too many are in despair.

It means listening to our brothers and sisters of color and learning about their experiences—their triumphs, struggles and sorrows—so that we understand how to best walk with them through all of these moments. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We must develop all of these gifts in ourselves and in one another as the foundation with which we can move our society forward.

It’s time to come together as a people and take the future of our region as our challenge. Let’s focus on what binds us versus what divides us.

It will take prayer. It will take hard work. It will take the involvement of all of us!

We need to take a knee in prayer, and ask forgiveness, and forgive one another.

We need to see the disparities among us, some of which were pointed out in the Ferguson Commission Report, and ask: have we made sufficient progress? What remains to be done? I know the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis has taken steps forward, but much still needs to be done.

Let’s all work together – government officials, business leaders, social activists, educators, police, fathers and mothers, the young and old – to help in whatever way we can to figure out our way forward. What do we want for our community?

Scripture tells us to turn our swords into plow shares. Let’s turn our guns into metal. And may that metal someday be the statue in our community that stands as reminder that, here in the greater St. Louis region, we chose justice so there would be peace.

Are you willing to join me in this pursuit of justice?

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson Archbishop of St. Louis

Mary and the Trinity

Today we celebrate the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, most fittingly the day after the birth of the Church at Pentecost. This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Mary, as the Mother of God and Mother of the Church, can help us connect to the Trinity, to risk intimacy with the Father, Son and Spirit. In the moment of the Annunciation, when all creation held its breath, Mary is asked by the Father, through the Angel Gabriel, to conceive by the Holy Spirit and to give life to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Mary is the ark of the new eternal covenant which will be sealed in Jesus’ blood on Calvary. In this way Mary stands at the center of history and at the center of Mystery; her “yes” to becoming Mother of God conjoins with Jesus’ “yes” to death on the Cross, thus becoming the new Eve, the mother all the living. What began in the Garden of Eden is transformed and redeemed through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ and is gloriously revealed in the Garden of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Let us pledge ourselves to follow Mary in her mission of bringing Christ to the world.


Come Holy Spirit, Come

Dear Friends,

St. Cyril offers a beautiful reflection regarding the mystery of Pentecost which we celebrate this Sunday.  God’s plan for us is that we participate fully in God’s own life.  Our identity is in Christ; our life is in God.  Enjoy!

We will continue our Eucharistic Procession on Friday evening, beginning at 6:00 pm.  Our summer format will be approximately a 1.5 mile walk.  This week we will pray the sorrowful and the glorious mysteries of the Rosary, gathering up the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord, together with the descent of the Holy Spirit, all the mysteries we have celebrated these last fifty days.  Our path this week will be north on Adkins, east on Taft, south on Newport, east on Delor, north on Ray, east on Neosho, south on Steffens, west on Itaska and south on Adkins to the Grotto.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

From a commentary on the Gospel of John by St. Cyril of Alexandria

If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you

After Christ had completed his mission on earth, it still remained necessary for us to become sharers in the divine nature of the Word. We had to give up our own life and be so transformed that we would begin to live an entirely new kind of life that would be pleasing to God. This was something we could do only by sharing in the Holy Spirit.

 It was most fitting that the sending of the Spirit and his descent upon us should take place after the departure of Christ our Saviour. As long as Christ was with them in the flesh, it must have seemed to believers that they possessed every blessing in him; but when the time came for him to ascend to his heavenly Father, it was necessary for him to be united through his Spirit to those who worshipped him, and to dwell in our hearts through faith. Only by his own presence within us in this way could he give us confidence to cry out, Abba, Father, make it easy for us to grow in holiness and, through our possession of the all-powerful Spirit, fortify us invincibly against the wiles of the devil and the assaults of men.

It can easily be shown from examples both in the Old Testament and the New that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. Saul was told by the prophet Samuel: The Spirit of the Lord will take possession of you, and you shall be changed into another man. Saint Paul writes: As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another.

Remembering the Fallen

This Monday we celebrate “Memorial Day in our country, honoring the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have died while serving in our armed forces.  We take this opportunity as well to thank all who have risked their lives in service to our country.  Our deepest prayer on this Memorial Day is that there may yet be an end of war.  In the mean time we pray for peace among all God;s children.

The poet, Langston Hughes, offers an insight into our deepest prayer for our country.  In our 244 years we have embarked on a noble experiment; despite many stumbles along the way, our longing for true freedom for every person is a beautiful witness to the capacity of the human person and our capacity together to create community.  Hughes sums up our aspirations this way: 

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again. 

This national striving, when wedded to our faith in Jesus Christ can be a powerful force for good.  Let our first love for God inspire us in our love for one another and in our love for our country.  Remembering the fallen inspires us to create a world where no more blood is spilled.  Indeed, we know that Christ’s blood poured out on the cross is the only blood that ought to be shed for any purpose under heave.  Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation is enough for us.  Let us lay aside our will, and our power, in order that God’s power to save might be fully known even to the ends of the earth.


We will continue our Eucharistic Procession this evening at 6:00.  We will stay close to the church, beginning east on Delor, then south on Ulena, west on Schiller and back to the Grotto, all weather permitting.  If the rain comes, we will pray the Rosary in church, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.


We look forward to public worship this weekend as we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord.  Please be patient as we begin again.  A reminder to enter through the accessible door near St. Joseph.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

What Binds Us Together is Christ

Our second reading from the Office today reflects beautifully our longing for the Eucharist and the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit.  Our full participation in the Eucharist confirms our participation in the very life of God and God’s desire to share life with us, to dwell within us, Father, Son and Spirit.  We who believe are awakened to the truth of God’s love poured out in all of creation and revealed most profoundly in our humanity.  Jesus Christ, God and man, is our way, our truth and our life.

From a commentary on the gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop

What binds us together is Christ

Paul bears witness to the fact that we achieve bodily union with Christ to the extent that we partake of his holy flesh. About this great mystery he says: This that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations: it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ.

If we are all the same body with one another in Christ – not just with one another, but with him who, through communion with his flesh, is actually within us – are we not then all of us clearly one with one another and one with Christ? For Christ is the bond that unites us, being at once God and Man.

Following the same line of thought, we can say this about spiritual unity: we all receive one and the same Spirit, I mean the Holy Spirit. So in a way we are blended together with one another and with God. Even though we are many individuals and Christ, the Spirit of the Father and his own Spirit, dwells in each one of us individually, still the Spirit is really one and indivisible. And so that one Spirit binds together the separated spirits of each one of us so that we are seen to be one, together in Christ.

Just as the power of Christ’s holy flesh makes into one body everyone in whom it exists, in the same way the Spirit of God, being indivisible, ties together the spirits in which it dwells.

Again, Paul emphasized this point: Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all. As the one Spirit abides in us, the one God and Father will be with us through the Son, leading those who share the Spirit into unity with each other and with himself.

There is another way to show that we are united through sharing in the Holy Spirit. If we abandon living as mere animals and surrender ourselves wholly to the laws of the Spirit, it is surely beyond question that by effectively denying our own life and taking upon ourselves the transcendent likeness of the Holy Spirit who is joined to us, we are practically transformed into another nature. We are no longer mere men, but sons of God and citizens of Heaven, through becoming partakers of the divine nature.

We are all, therefore, one in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; one because we have the same relationship, one because we live the same life of righteousness, and one in receiving the holy flesh of Christ and in sharing the one Holy Spirit.