Tuesday, December 27, 2011

He must increase; I must decrease.

Merry Christmas!!! I hope that Christmas day was a great, or maybe for some of you (if not most) you started to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, so I hope that was a good day as well. I know that this past weekend the church was packed here at Epiphany, and it was great to see so many people here. I was able to make it home on Christmas night and spend some time with my family. Usually the week after Christmas is a slow week (because school is out, and a lot of people on vacation) but it will not be a slow week for me. Tomorrow through Friday I will be helping with a TEC (Teenagers Encountering Christ)  retreat here in the Twin Cities, and looking at the schedule I can see that it is not exactly going to be a restful retreat, but it should be a good one.
On Christmas I preached about how we are called to be Christians, which means that we always have to be changing. The Scripture verse that I referenced is John 3:30 in which John the Baptist states: He must increase; I must decrease. Hopefully I will have the homily posted soon, but right now I cannot find the CD and so keep on checking back to see if it is up. Have a great week, and please pray for the kids that will be making a retreat this week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

According to Your Word

I hope that you have a good final week of Advent. I know that I will be busy with confessions, a Christmas homily, and some other talks this week. However, I also hope that you can take some time this week in silent prayer. The silent prayer will hopefully help you through the rest of the busy season.
Below is my homily from last week:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.

This past week my friend Fr. Dustin Boehm's brother passed away. His name was Adam Boehm and he was 24 years old. If you could please keep Adam and his family in your prayers that would be greatly appreciated.
I preached a little bit about Fr. Dustin and his family in my homily this past weekend. This homily is straight from my heart and I think that it would be a good homily for anyone to listen to if they are going through a time of trial (which is all of us sometimes), so I hope that you can get something out of it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Challenge

Three Great Days!!!

What a busy three days it has been. On Saturday we had our first ever Gala and it was a great success. I have never seen Epiphany look as good as it did on Saturday night, so thank you to all who volunteered. Also, a big thanks to Tim and Jayne Taylor who won a day of ice fishing with me.Of course Sunday was great because we had Mass, and also because the Vikings at least made the game entertaining.
Yesterday was also a busy day in which I was able to put up my Nativity set and my Christmas Tree. Also, I took all of the ice fishing equipment out of the closet and have started to organize the gear for the season (which hopefully will begin soon).
This past weekend I preached on how Mark was more than likely the first Gospel writer. However, I failed to mention that this is not certain, but rather a belief by many scholars. I did not intend to say for fact that Mark was the first Gospel writer, but I can realize how it can come off this way. I guess in the big picture the point that I was trying to make was that it should not matter who wrote the first Gospel, because they all speak of Jesus, not themselves, which we are called to do in our lives. If you want to listen to my homily it is right here:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be Watchful! Be Alert!

I hope that the new Mass translation went well for you. I know that on my end, I thought that it was beautiful, even if I messed up with some of the chanting. As I mentioned in my homily I love visiting other countries and going to Mass, and one of my favorite places that I did this was in Luxembourg. Here is a picture of the inside of the Cathedral.
Have a good Advent and here is my homily from this past Sunday it starts around 20 seconds in:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preparing for Advent

Below is my Bulletin Article for this upcoming weekend, I thought it might be good for you to have a sneak peak:

My favorite liturgical season of the year is upon us, the season of Advent. This season is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. So, how can a season of waiting be my favorite? The is because it is an opportunity for all of us to get rid of some distractions in our life, while we prepare for the coming of Christ.
We all want to have God as the center of our life, but so often other distractions can come up, especially now with shopping to get done, and parties to attend. With all of the activities that this busy season brings, our relationship with God is often compromised. However, during Advent we are asked to re-examine our relationship with God, and truly prepare for His coming.
Just like the season of Lent, the season of Advent is penitential in nature, which means that Advent too is a time of fasting and penance. So, maybe we should all give something up this year for Advent. Giving  something up does not prove to God that we love him, but rather when we give something up what it should do is call to mind that God is with us, and that it is him that we are preparing for.  Also, when we give up things, it hopefully will teach us that the only thing that we really need in our life is God, and that he has to be what we desire the most.
About a month ago I asked some parishioners some of the ways that they are able to make God their main desire in the midst of all the distractions in their life and here are some of the responses:
  • Spending time on Sunday morning doing a Bible Study.
  • Spending 30 minutes a day in prayer which includes reading the daily readings, and trying to go to daily Mass when possible.
  • A student here at Epiphany told me that she and her mom either turn the radio off or listen to religious music when they are in the car together.
I would like to add a few of my own, especially for the season of Advent:
  • Pray together as a family. Don’t only do this before you eat, but spend some time every day during Advent praying together.
  • Find an opportunity to volunteer in some way this Advent season. There are many opportunities here at Epiphany, but there are other places that need help as well. Maybe, the volunteering is just helping your neighbor with something. We know that when we do this it is not just our neighbor that we are serving, but that we are serving Christ as well, because Christ is in each and every one of us.
  • Go to confession. If we truly want to be prepared for the coming of Christ, then we need to make sure that we are free of anything that might be blocking us from the love of God. Of course this is something that should be done not only in Advent or in Lent, but if we have committed a grave sin then we are called to confess it to God.
All of these recommendations should not only be done in Advent, but at all times, because we know that we are always waiting for the coming of the Lord. However, in order to do them at all times, we need to start doing them, and what better time than this season of waiting and preparation for the Lord.
Let us take advantage of Advent this year, so that we can truly be ready for the coming of the Lord. Please know of my prayers for you. My prayer for you this Advent season is that you will be able to clear your heart of all distractions and make way for the coming of the Lord.
In Christ,
Fr. Alex B. Carlson 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Well done, my good and faithful servant.

This past weekend we had the ministry fair, which was a great success. I am always amazed at all the ways that we minister to people here at Epiphany. The ministry fair also fit in great with our readings from this past weekend, and also fit in well with the annual stewardship renewal that is going on right now. I know that I can never say this enough, but thank you to all the people that help here at Epiphany, without you we would never be able to exist.
Below is my homily from this week:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do you want to be immortal?

This past weekend I started my homily about talking about the movie trailer for the movie "In Time", and here is a link to the trailer. I actually went and saw the movie yesterday, on my off day and I thought that it was an alright movie. The plot was decent and it brings up some things to think about when you leave, which is a good thing. Just to let you know the movie is rated PG-13 and the Catholic News Service rating for it is A-III, which means that it is for adults. Here is my homily from Sunday, I hope that you can get something out of it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monsters and Fathers!!!

This past weekend Fr. Nathan LaLiberte from St. Stephen's in Anoka and I ran the Monster Dash Half Marathon. As you can tell in the picture it started at the Cathedral in Saint Paul and also finished in St. Paul. Fr. Nathan was generous enough to stay with me the whole run (he is a lot faster than I am), and we finished in 2:02:23. Which was just fine with me, because we were not running for a time, but rather we were running to have a good time, and that was accomplished.

This past weekend was also priesthood Sunday and so I decided to preach a little bit on the priesthood, and also tied in why we call priests "fathers". There were a lot of Scripture references in my homily, mainly from this Sunday's reading, but also from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians chapter 4:14-16, which states this:    I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me. Below is my homily from this past weekend, I hope that you get something out of it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

This past weekend I preached at all of the masses on Perpetual Eucharist Adoration and the gift that it is to us. It was the first time that I preached all the masses here at Epiphany, which was a great experience. As mentioned in the homily one of the great things that we have here is adoration, and if you would like to sign up for an hour you can give our organizer Peggy a call at 763-755-7706. If you belong to another parish that has perpetual adoration I would recommend that you sign up for an hour, it will definitely help you out. One final note about my homily, it is the longest one that I have ever given. But, last week was one of my shortest, so I think it all evens out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ask Fr. Carlson turns into Ask Uncle Alex for the week

From Slave to Priest

It’s been awhile since I have recommended a book, but it’s not because I am not reading (although I should read more). One of my favorite things to read about is American history, especially from the Civil War up to World War II. Another favorite subject of mine is anything that has to deal with good examples of people living out their faith in a holy way. I recently finished a book that encompasses both of these things and it is titled From Slave to Priest. This book is an autobiography of Fr. Augustine Tolton.
Fr. Tolton was born as a slave, and went on to become a priest as the title tells us. Tolton was the first black American priest of the United States, and had to endure many trials to become a priest, and even more trials when he became a priest. This book will inspire you to live out your faith in an even greater way, and it will also teach you never to give up on what you think God is calling you towards.
This book will also open your eyes to the discrimination that was not only present in the United States at that time, but also the discrimination that was present in the Church itself. However, there are some great witnesses who supported Fr. Tolton along the way, and of course Fr. Tolton’s own example of perseverance and love of the Church will serve us all well. I recommend this book for everyone, and if you want more information on it here is the link to Amazon where you can find the book description and purchase a copy yourself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Repay to God what Belongs to God

When you listen to the homily down below you will hear the challenge of the week, which is to figure out what is distracting you from God, and then what can you do to get rid of these distractions.
I recommend that you spend some time in prayer with this question and then set up a plan and stick to it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why the distinction between Solemnity, Feast and Memorial?

A special thanks to Fr. Aaron Kalmon from the diocese of Superior (which is in Wisconsin) for helping with the answer and also for video taping this episode.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This Party is going to be "The Beast"

If you want to know more about what "The Beast" means, it means that you are going to have to listen to the homily, which is below:

Friday, October 7, 2011

How much money did you raise for the school?

The money will keep on coming in, and I will try to update this every few days or so, but as of right now it is at $10,286.45 Thanks for all who donated.
Here's another couple cool photo's from the marathon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thoughts on my First Marathon

The marathon is over, and to tell you the truth, this is bittersweet. The reason I say this is because it has been something that has been a goal for such a long time, and now it is over. However, I think my body and my schedule will appreciate the training being over.
So, how did it go? It was a great day and I had my family helping me out along the way. The day started at my mom’s house (in West St. Paul, where I had spent the night) with Sunday Mass in the living room at 5:15 with my mother and sisters, Sarah and Annah. Following Mass I had my usual pre-run breakfast of oatmeal and orange juice. Then it was time to leave for the Metrodome, but first we had to pick up my brother-in-law, Jeff, who also was running the marathon.
We arrived at the Metrodome around 7:15 and to say that I was nervous was an understatement, but the nerves left quickly because I was able to joke around with Jeff while we walked around the Metrodome concourse. I also was able to see a couple of people who I recognized before the start of the marathon, which was great!
I would like to say that I was out at the start line with plenty of time to spare but that would be a lie. I was actually still inside the Metrodome until around 7:57 and got to the start line right when the second wave was being dismissed, which was perfect timing. As I was approaching the starting line I said some prayers, including the Memorare. I crossed the starting line at 8:08:14 AM and my first marathon had begun.
The most surprising thing that I experienced on Sunday was how packed the streets were with runners and how hard it was to pass people for the first 11 miles of the race. But it was great to see so many people running and having a good time. I ran the first half of the marathon in 2:09:29 which was a little slower than I had expected, but due to the amount of people on the course I think I was limited on how fast I could run. However, when I passed the halfway mark I thought that it was good that I had run more slowly, because I was hoping that it had saved some of my energy for the second half, which I knew was going to be much harder.
Now if there is one thing I learned from all of my training for the marathon it is that some days are going to be great days where you feel great and your body agrees with you, and there will be other days where it is the complete opposite. Unfortunately for me it was the latter, my body was not having a good day. I think this was because I have had a cold since Tuesday, and that I possibly messed up my pre-marathon taper by a week or so. However, the thing that really got me was that I started to cramp up at mile 17. So, the second half of the marathon was a struggle, but through many prayers (including a rosary) and many supporters (more on this farther down) I was able to cross the finish line at 12:50:31 p.m. My final time was 4:42:17, which made me the 5938 finisher of the Marathon out of 8534 finishers. It also means that Oprah beat my time by about 13 minutes, but I had realized this was going to happen when the cramps showed up at mile 17.
The two main things on my mind while I was running were the school children here at Epiphany and also my dad. As I was running I could not help but think of what I was running for, which was for the school, and how all of the training and the pain that I was going through was all worth it because it was raising money for a good cause – Catholic education. I was also thinking about my dad, Bernie, who I knew would have loved to run the marathon but was not able to due to his cancer. This really hit home when I saw the Cathedral of St. Paul because I knew that I was almost to the finish and that my dad would have been proud of me for running the marathon, so needless to say I got a little emotional at that time, but was able to hold it together and cross the finish line with a smile.

If I had to describe my marathon experience in one word I would say that it was amazing. Although it was one of my worst days running, I still had a great time, and the time seemed to fly by. To see all of those people on the side cheering us runners on, to see other runners who were having a good time, and to have such a beautiful day as it was on Sunday, added up to an amazing day. It was also amazing to see so many people that I knew cheering me on! My family made it down there and were my support team handing me bananas, snickers, and other food, which kept me energized along the way. Also, there were many parishioners who came to cheer me on, which really gave me some extra motivation. I even made some of them run with me for a little bit and pray a Hail Mary with me. Of course I kept on looking for those bright neon green signs that the parish had made for me, and when I saw them I made sure to run over and see who was holding them. So, I owe a HUGE THANK YOU to all who came down and supported me, and for all those who prayed for me on Sunday. I even heard that everyone at Mass was able to follow my progress on the screens, which is awesome.

My main goal in running this marathon was to raise $4,000 for Epiphany School, and I am extremely happy to announce that this goal has been reached and then some! I plan on revealing the total amount received at the school pep fest on Friday, but even then I know that there will be more coming in, because some people who have pledged wanted to make sure that I actually accomplished the marathon. So, look for an update on the total amount on Friday and thank you to all who have helped out the school through a donation, it is going towards a great school, and your donation will make it even better. Once again, thank you to everyone who helped me run the marathon, without you this never would have been possible.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Marathon Report

Well I finished the marathon with a time of 4:42:17. More details later this week, but a quick thank you to all who prayed for me today, and for those who came down and supported me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Have you looked at your Catholic Spirit Newpaper latley?

Epiphany priest dedicates race to dad, vows to donate all pledge money to Catholic school

Fr. Carlson Running
Father Alex Carlson, associate priest at Epiphany in Coon Rapids, goes for a run at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. He has been training since May and will run in the Twin Cities Marathon Oct. 2. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit
What does Oprah have to do with a local priest running the Twin Cities Marathon?
Plenty, if you’re Father Alex Carlson, associate priest at Epiphany in Coon Rapids. Last winter, he decided to run the marathon in honor of his father, Bernie, who died of cancer in 2003.
His goal for a finish time is where Oprah Winfrey comes in.
“I want to beat Oprah’s time [in the 1994 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.], which is four hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds,” he said about his goal for the annual marathon, which is Oct. 2. “That should not be a problem.”
In fact, this mark is more than just a casual goal. There’s money involved. Since he started his training back in May, he has been seeking pledges, which he will donate to Epiphany School. Among the monetary promises he has received is an intriguing one for a parishioner.
“One person said, ‘$5 a mile, but $10 [a mile] if you beat Oprah’s time,” he said.
Thus, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Not that Father Carlson is worried. After all, he has been running up to 53 miles a week and has logged about 360 total miles. He recently completed an 18.5-mile run that actually was the final 18.5 miles of the course that he will tackle for real next Sunday.
Turning to his ‘go-to prayer’
Helping Father Carlson through this effort will, hopefully, be the Blessed Mother, whose intercession he will seek in the moments before the race starts in downtown Minneapolis at 8 a.m. (Mall of America Field). In this, the 30th running of the event, there will be 11,200 participants.
“Before I go on any run, especially if it’s a long one that I know is going to be tough, I pray the Memorare [prayer to the Blessed Virgin],” he said. “It’s my favorite prayer. I often tell people this is the prayer to use when you’re in trouble or when you need help. It’s my go-to prayer, it’s the first one that comes to mind when people ask me to pray for them.”
As much as he is able, Father Carlson sticks to his training regimen, recording miles on his watch as he runs and later logging them onto his computer.
In addition to the Memorare, he also looks to one of his favorite Scripture verses, which he had printed on the holy card he had made for his ordination to the priesthood May 29, 2010. It’s from Psalm 90: “Let the favor of the Lord be upon us: Give success to the work of our hands, give success to the work of our hands. (v. 17)”
Father Carlson
Father Alex Carlson is hoping to raise at least $4,000 in pledges for Epiphany School in the Twin Cities Marathon. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit
“I have added: And give success to the work of my feet,” he said. “I need my feet to run the marathon.”
Web of support
So far, he has been impressed – and blessed — by the support of the parish and school communities. People have seen him running and cheered him on. One parishioner even scolded him for running in bad weather. Also, students at the school have made small posters with messages of encouragement.
His list of supporters includes the school’s new principal, Laurie Jennrich, who came to the school this fall after working at Cretin-Derham Hall for the previous 16 years. During that time, Carlson was a student at the school, playing varsity football for two years before graduating in 1998.
“We’re so proud of him,” she said. “What a way to step up and represent our school. . . . He’s keeping his  [pledges] a secret right now, but the money will be donated to our school.”
Father Carlson has a goal of $4,000 and said he is confident of reaching it. He is hoping for cool, dry weather on race day, and would like to see some parishioners and students show up on the course to cheer him on.
“One morning, I was running and it was a 13-mile run,” he said. “I was right at the two-mile mark and some parishioners recognized me. . . . They started saying, ‘Go, Father, go.’ That definitely pushed me for the rest of those miles and many more after that. If anyone wants to do that on the morning of the marathon, I would be very grateful.”

The Memorare

Father Alex Carlson said the Memorare is his favorite prayer. He prays it before every run:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Go Out and Work in the Vineyard Today

Another great weekend here at Epiphany. I was able to rest a little on Saturday morning, had a Mass on Saturday night followed by a Baptism with around 75 people there, and of course Masses on Sunday. The only thing that would have made it better was if one of our football teams could win a game, but that may be asking for too much.
The other great part of this weekend was the readings for this past Sunday, they truly were inspiring. Here is a link to the readings, and I would encourage all of you to read all of Ezekiel chapter 18 to see what he truly was trying to convey. Below is my homily from this past Sunday, I hope that you enjoy it and get something out of it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recieving more than what is just

What another great weekend!!! I was able to witness another marriage between a great couple, and of course had Mass on Sunday. Also, I was able to go paint balling with the youth on Sunday afternoon, and I am pretty sure that they shot me a lot more than I shot them. Below is my homily from this past Sunday, I hope you can get something out of it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Experiment

By the way in case you did not see it, I am in the lending library. Alright, let's see those questions down below, and I'll pick one out and hopefully have it answered by next Friday. Also, you can  Email me here or look at the link in the upper right hand corner to find my email, to mail me your questions.
Also, Fr. Abbott informed me last week that this blog has made it mainstream (alright, maybe not mainstream, but is being looked at) because he found a link for this blog on another website. The website is called Minnesota Catholic, and what it does is gather Catholic news throughout the state and puts it on one site. It is a pretty cool sight, and seeing as how they have a link to my blog, I have decided to add a link to their site in the upper right hand corner, and also right here, so take a look.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forgive your brother from your heart

It was a very tough weekend to preach this weekend, and that is because of the memory of the September 11 attacks 10 years ago. Also, our readings for the weekend were definitely challenging, because they talked about forgiveness, which can be a very hard thing to do, but something that we are called to do. I think that this is what I tried to convey in my homily this weekend, and I hope that you can learn something about forgiveness from this homily.