Sunday, June 7, 2009

Farewell to bells, Hello to Archbishop Carlson

Here is the cathedra (bishop's seat) where Robert Carlson will sit as Archbishop of St. Louis for the first time on Wednesday. I can't wait!

I'll be at the Cathedral a lot in the next three days preparing for and performing in my last Mass with the handbell choir. I have never seen our usually cheerful director so excited and anxious. Thanks, Karen, for letting me play even though I was out of town for rehearsal last week. Installation means a lot to me.

Of course, Carlson's arrival will involve a flurry of media attention. We have been instructed to be on our best behavior since the video cameras for EWTN and the live feed will be directly across from the bells. I'll be on the right, ringing the heavy bass clef ones. Apparently AmericanPapist will be providing coverage too - I'll try to spot him.

Recent stories in the Post-Dispatch seem to confirm first impressions that Carlson is a personable, diplomatic man.

"One thing I know is that when you're coming into a community, the last thing you want to do is come in and pretend like you have all the answers," he said.
One source of his compassion and humility is his history of battling cancer and diabetes.

"I always say that God has really blessed me in weakness," Carlson said. "I've learned that I am who I am, that I do some things well, and I make mistakes in other areas."
Carlson said cancer changed his priorities. His career ambitions took a backseat, he said. Instead of spending so much time as an administrator, he wanted to be out in his diocese, among his flock. "Once you almost die, you try to live life as best you can — not because you're afraid of death, but because you got a second chance," Carlson said.

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