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Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri Synod Lutherans stand against sale of baby parts

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It would be easier to forget what we have seen, to erase from our memories and our minds what we have heard. But the statements and actions of Planned Parenthood medical directors and technicians, captured on film and released by the Center for Medical Progress, are the kind we will not forget, the kind that cannot be unseen and unheard.

Like millions of Americans, including those in the Roman Catholic Church and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, we have been shaken to the core by what we have witnessed: intact babies, at times still alive, having their body parts harvested as a commodity. We are shocked at the image of tiny hands and feet seen in a glass pie plate. We are horrified at what we have seen and heard. Such actions and attitudes have no place in our society.

While offensive, the degradation of the bodies of these infant human beings is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. Those fetal tissue and organs are only available for sale because they are being killed through abortion. Over 57 million unborn children have been lost to abortion in our nation since 1973.

The toll of these lives lost is enormous. We are missing sons and daughters, siblings, spouses, coaches, scholars, mentors and friends.

This loss is symptomatic of a loss of respect for human life in our society today. In so many ways, our culture seeks to deny the humanity of the unborn, of the elderly or of someone with a disability.

Together, we stand firm and repeat that every human life is worthy of dignity and respect. We affirm our continued commitment to offer resources to help parents of any faith background who are in need of medical, financial or social service assistance both during pregnancy and after. We stand ready to assist any parent who wishes to make an adoption plan for their child.

Our commitment is to all life in all its stages from conception to natural death. For those men and women who participated in an abortion, we extend to you the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden …” (Matt. 11:28), and we invite you to experience hope and healing from your experience.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson,
Archbishop of St. Louis

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President,
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

 


Click here for coverage from the St. Louis Review

Click here to view the press release announcing the statement

Exciting Upcoming Events

Date Time Event Location Notes and RSVP Information
Friday
September 29, 2017
  SLU's Annual Vocation Fair   Additional details to come.
Saturday
September 30, 2017
10:00 am Mass for Consecrated Life            

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
4431 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson cordially invites you to attend the 2017 Mass for Cconsecrated Life! A reception will follow Mass in upper Boland Hall, adjacent to the Cathedral. The 2017 Jubilarians will be recognized at the Mass and reception! Please register at: http://archstl.org/rsvp-Mass-Cons-Life.
Thursday
October 12, 2017
6 pm CSJ Wine and Chocolate   Additional details to come.
Friday - Sunday
October 13-15, 2017
  The Beautiful Struggle of Daily Life - Conference Retreat Chiara Center
Franciscan Place of Spirituality
4875 LaVerna Road
Springfield, IL 62707
2017 Chiara Center Conference Retreat with Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB. Our spiritual life is a treasure needing constant renewal and care. This retreat is an invitation to honor your soul’s need for reflection and replenishing one’s own spirit. Please see Beautiful Struggles for more information.
Sunday
October 15, 2017
10:00 am Annual White Mass Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
4431 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108
Catholic healthcare professionals are invited to the annual White Mass celebrated by Archbishop Carlson. A reception will follow Mass in Boland Hall. For more information please see below, call 314-792-7812, or visit archstl.org.
Sunday
October 15, 2017
2:30 pm Cathedral Concerts Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
4431 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108
2017 - 2018 is Cathedral Concerts 25th Anniversary Season and we are happy to share free tickets to the concerts with the religious communities of the Archdiocese again! Please see below for more information, and for ticket requests please call Scott Kennebeck at 314-533-7662 or e-mail: skennebeck@cathedralstl.org.
Saturday
October 21, 2017
9:00 am – 2:00 pm 2017 Pastoral Assembly Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Creating a Culture of Encounter in our Parishes: Pope Francis Guide to Holiness and Vocations. Refreshments and lunch provided to all participants. Please see below and Pastoral Assembly 2017.
Friday - Sunday
October 20-22, 2017
  Holiness Retreat Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
10341 Manchester Rd.
Kirkwood, MO 63122
For young women ages 17-29. Those attending will join the Sisters in praying the Divine Office, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and recreation. The retreat will also include talks given by the Sisters, time for silence and private prayer, and the opportunity to share with other young women serious about growing in holiness. For more information or to register visit: Holiness Retreat. Contact Sr. Mary Michael, Carmel DCJ, with questions: (314)-965-7616 or vocations@carmelitedcj.org.
Sunday - Friday
October 22-27, 2017
  Come, Listen, Be, Receive - Directed Retreat Chiara Center
Franciscan Place of Spirituality
4875 LaVerna Road
Springfield, IL 62707
The Directed Retreat includes solitude, prayer, and a one-on-one daily session with a Spiritual Director. You may choose to make it a 3, 4, or 5 day retreat. Pre-registration is required. Please see Directed Retreat 2017 for more information.

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CCHD National Grant Pre-Application Is Now Open!

Pre-Application for new grant applicants for the 2016-2017 National CCHD Grant Program is Now Open! 

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the national anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities. Currently, there are two grant programs: community development and economic development. For more information on these programs, including a comprehensive guide on how to complete the application, click here.

CCHD grants involve a multi-step review process, the first of which is the pre-application. All new grant applicants must submit a pre-application for a community development or an economic development grant. CCHD uses this pre-application to determine the funding eligibility of a potential applicant organization. Approved organizations will be invited to apply for the full grant, which is due December 15th.

To fill out the pre-application, click here. Pre-application guidelines can be found in the Grant HandbookThe deadline to submit a pre-application is November 1st, 2016!

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Sandy Mattingly-Paulen, Grants Specialist at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at smattingly-paulen@usccb.org or 202-541-3211. 2015 CCHD Image Poster

We are Salt and Light!

USCCB's "We are Salt and Light" provides inspiration, resources, and community for Catholics across the U.S. 

In 1993, the USCCB released a beautiful guide to help parishes discern their social ministry and guide them in their work, Communities of Salt and Light, which many parishes across the U.S. are using today to guide their work in charity, justice, and peacemaking. However, a lot of things have changed in the past 20 years, and so the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development at the USCCB has brought hundreds of resources together under one website, We Are Salt and Light. The website is arranged into four major categories: 

One of the most exciting features of the website is that it contains hundreds of success stories about small groups of Catholics across the country who worked together to transform their parish, their community, and their hearts. From a group of teens in Austin, Texas who gather together and pray the Rosary for Mercy whenever there's an execution to a parish in California that hosts foreclosure workshops for struggling families, the stories are very inspiring! And better yet, you have the ability to connect with each group to learn how they did it. 

I know that there is a lot of amazing work being done across our Archdiocese in the way of charity, justice, and peace making. If you are interested in having your parish's work highlighted on We are Salt and Light, please let me know at molson@ccstl.org or 314-367-5500 x1128, and I will pass it along to the JPHD. 

We Cannot do Everything

$90 million has been cut from the Dept. of Social Services 

 6500 children will lose their access to basic needs in January, 2016

Cities and municipalities could lose their ability to listen to their residents and raise the minimum wage or set benefits standards--such as paid maternity leave--to support working families. 

All of this has happened just in our state in the last 3 weeks. And 300,000 Missourians will continue to live without access to health care because our lawmakers did not expand Medicaid.

 If we widened the lens of injustice, we would also see pain and despair caused by racial and economic disparity in Baltimore; a drought in California that is hurting poor Latino migrant workers the most and large fracking corporations the least; hundreds of African and Middle Eastern migrants drowning in the Mediterranean; and 213 Nigerian girls, recently rescued from their captors, pregnant with the children of their kidnappers and abusers. 

That's enough sorrow to make someone throw up her hands and cry, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" 

Yesterday afternoon, after learning about the legislature's veto override of SB 24 but before heading up to the "Faith in Ferguson" monthly prayer service at Our Lady of Guadalupe, I sat in my car and prayed aloud, "God, I'm here to build your kingdom, I'm here to do your will, I'm here to bring glad tidings to the poor and proclaim liberty to the captives, but I'm failing. I must be the wrong person for the task." 

I arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe heartbroken. I cried on my friend's shoulder; I told God that I didn't really mean it as I sang the opening song, "Here I am, Lord."

However, this month's "Faith in Ferguson" was incredibly special. First of all, it was Cinquo de Mayo, so Marie Kenyon, the new director of the Archdiocese's Peace and Justice Commission, reflected on the need for greater Catholic participation in the fight for just and humane immigration reform. Also, May 23 is the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Sr. Cathy Doherty had put together a beautiful liturgy that honored him.

Archbishop RomeroArchbishop Romero lived among the poorest and most marginalized people in El Salvador. He not only provided them with basic needs, but he also spoke out against the political structures that were oppressing them. On the radio, he delivered sermons where he condemned the human rights abuses of the military and El Salvadorean government, even though he was receiving death threats. He even asked President Jimmy Carter to stop sending military aid to El Salvador--but President Carter did not listen. Archbishop Romero continued to work--in spite of the hopelessness that surrounded the situation in El Salvador--until he was assassinated on March 24, 1980. 

During the prayer service, I found myself saying, "Give me the courage to continue going forth, as Romero did."

Towards the end of "Faith in Ferguson," we prayed the what is often called "The Romero Prayer." It is lengthy, so I will not copy it all here. But here are a few lines: 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. 

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. 

 This morning I woke up and prayed, "Okay God, I'm here to do your will, but you need to help me feel a sense of liberation after I try and fail to change so many of our legislators' disregard for the poor. Please remind me that I cannot do everything." 

I still don't know if this was the "right" prayer, but it got me back to my office today. It also gave me the hope to organize some of our clergy and lay people to call their representatives and tell them to VOTE NO on that bill that would take away the ability of cities and municipalities to raise the minimum wage. 

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.