I attended yesterday’s installation of Robert Carlson as the 9th Archbishop of St. Louis. I found the service, in which prayers were read in English and in the languages of some of the City’s historic immigrant groups and new Americans, deeply moving. With social and business issues often at the forefront, we sometimes forget that the Archbishop’s primary job is to lead tens of thousands of people who have a deep faith in God.
The Post-Dispatch’s able religion writer Tim Townsend has offered up a good “To Do” list for Archbishop Carlson. Among the line items Townsend identified for the new Archbishop to tackle are shrinking enrollment in the parochial school system; the complex financial, social, and theological challenges posed by St. Stanislaus Church; and friction between the archdiocese and Catholic Charities. To these, I would add the challenges posed by good stewardship of the Church’s real estate holdings in the City; more active engagement with new Americans, immigrants, and - particularly - our new Muslim neighbors; and a better relationship with Saint Louis University.
Still, there is time enough to begin those labors next week. For the rest of this week, I suggest Forest Park, frozen custard, and dinner on the Hill. Welcome to St. Louis, Archbishop Carlson.