Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Gift of Christ

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope that you had a blessed day yesterday and that you are enjoying the Christmas season. I also hope that all you of you received Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly and have started to read it, look for an entertaining video about the book on Friday.
A special thanks to Jake and his father Paul for videotaping the homily at the last minute. I know that it was not an easy one to videotape seeing as how I was moving around all the time.
Once again Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rejoice in the Lord Always

As you can tell, this was a difficult homily to give. Please continue to pray for the victims and the families in Newtown Connecticut.
P.S. You will need to turn up your volume to hear the homily.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Building up Strength for the Day of our Redemption

Update to the Homily:
After watching the homily I realized that I left out the part that we need to continue to train our soul at all times, not to give up when Advent is ready. I know that most of you know this, I just think that it is worth repeating.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent 2012

Attention all Men of Saint Ambrose
While we do not know a lot about St. Joseph, we all can agree that he was a great man, and one that each of us is called to emulate. This Advent I invite all men of Saint Ambrose to join me on Tuesday mornings during Advent from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM to learn more about St. Joseph and how he will help us to be the man that we are called to be. The themes will be how St. Joseph was a Son of God, a Husband to Mary, and a Father to Jesus. You are invited to come to all or any of these meetings, and don’t worry coffee will be provided!!! The dates will be December 4th, 11th, and 18th and we will meet right here at Saint Ambrose. So, set you alarm, bring a friend, and come and learn more about St. Joseph and how you are called to be like him. More details to follow.
Fr. Carlson 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christ the King

Here is a link to the Papal encyclical Quas Primas that I referenced in my homily, in case any of you want to read it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Respecting Life

This homily has already brought a lot of responses from many people who have shared with me how their family was treated because they came from a big family. I hope that this homily helps people realize that every life is a gift from God, and that we need to see every human life as something good, not bad. As mentioned in the homily, we are not called to judge, rather we should ask God to open our eyes, so that we can see as he sees.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sharing your Faith Story

    If you have yet to read Archbishop Nienstedt's pastoral letter on the new evangelization here is a link to it, I strongly encourage you to read it.
    Here are a couple of recommendations if you decide to post a video response to my challenge. If you could keep it to 3-4 minutes that would be great. I know that is not a long time, but on average that is how long people will probably watch the video (even though the video above is 5 minutes, I wish that it was shorter). The video can be recorded in any quality, just make sure that we can hear you. Also, when you post it to youtube, I will need you to let me know what the link is, so that I can share it with other people. Maybe you are thinking that you do not want to be the only person who posts a video, because you think that would be embarrassing (which it would not), then I recommend that you challenge a friend to make a video as well.
    If you really want to do this and do not have the proper equipment to upload a video, just let me know and I am sure that I can help you out. If you want to you can come to the office and I will even video tape for you and do all of the editing, etc.. So, the only question that remains is if you are actually going to do this or not, my vote is that you do (if you don't who will?).

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Beauty of Redemptive Suffering

Deacon Rip Riordan preached this weekend, and was nice enough to let me share it with all of you. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Open Hours

When I was in college, one of the things that I took advantage of frequently was the open hours that professors would offer for the students. I would often just stop in their office for a couple of minutes and ask a question or two. Of course it always helped to ask them questions, but the real advantage of this was that I was able to develop a relationship with them over the year. Looking back at those
times I realized that I probably learned just as much in those one-on-one brief conversations as I had learned in class.
When I was ordained a priest one of the things that I quickly found out was that people want to talk to me (not because of who I am, but because I am a priest), but do not necessarily feel like they have something important enough to schedule an appointment with me for. So, at my last parish I started offering “open hours” for the parishioners to come on by without scheduling an appointment. These “open hours” were very successful, as many parishioners would stop on by and just talk. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know the parishioners, and in turn, the parish better. So, I am going to start to offer “open hours” here at St. Ambrose starting on October 6th. The Open Hours will be every Saturday in October and November from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM, and for the most part will be in the Fr. Pingatore room. If they are successful I will continue to offer them in following months.
You may be asking yourself, what would I discuss with Fr. Carlson during these “open hours”? Well, anything is fair game. Maybe you have a question about the faith that you really want to talk to someone about. Or maybe you are working through a situation and would like some advice from a priest. Or maybe you just want to stop on by because you are afraid that I am going to be bored. All of these are good reasons to come on in. Once again there is no need to schedule an appointment for this. Of course, I will still be available throughout the week to meet with people, so if that works out better for you, don’t hesitate to call.
I often tell people the reason why I got ordained a priest was not for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a priest. But the reason why I got ordained a priest and am a priest is for you, the people of God. I hope that these “open hours” are a way for me to serve you better.
Fr. Carlson 

Monday, August 27, 2012

This saying is hard; who can accept it?

This past weekend I preached on the upcoming marriage amendment here in Minnesota. I mentioned in my homily that there are some well done articles regarding what and why the Church teaches about marriage, and here is a link to our parish homepage which has all of the articles available. Also, here is a link to the Minnesota Catholic Conference which has more articles regarding the marriage amendment. As mentioned in my homily, I know that this can be a very controversial subject, but what I am asking is for you to be aware of what and why the Church teaches what it does in regard to marriage. I hope that these links and my homily help out in this regard.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Whoever Eats this Bread will Live Forever!!!

This is a previous post re-posted!!!! I did not preach this past weekend, but here is a homily that I gave at Epiphany on the same Scripture passage. I think that it was one of my best homiles, so I hope that you take a listen (it was before I switched to video) and learn more about the Eucharist.

It was great preaching this weekend at Epiphany. It had been 2 weeks since I had preached a Sunday homily, so I actually was a little nervous. However, it helped that it was a great Sunday to preach because it was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ). Also, the Gospel was from John 6:51-58 which is one of, if not my favorite Gospel passage. The reason why I like it so much is because it explains the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I was able to grasp this teaching when I was in my Johannine class (the study of John). What helped me out the most was a handout that my teacher gave me, which explained that the word "eat" can be translated two different ways. Anyways, here is the handout:

John 6:51-58 

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh (sarks)." 
52 ¶ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh (sarks) to eat (phagein)?" 
53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat (phagein) the flesh (sarks) of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 
54 he who eats (trogein) my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh (sarks) is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 
56 He who eats (trogein) my flesh (sarks) and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 
57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats (trogein) me will live because of me. 
58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate (phagein) and died; he who eats (trogein) this bread will live forever."

Sarks = Flesh
Phagein = Eat
Trogo = Gnaws or Chews

As you can tell, the difference between Phagein and Trogein is huge. We are truly called to gnaw/chew on the body of Christ. If you want to learn more about this, please listen to my homily, I think it offers a fairly good explanation. However, in the homily I did not use the word "gnaws" because I did not want to freak out any children, however "gnaws" would be a better translation.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Actively Participating in Mass

Sorry about the audio quality, for some reason the CD did not actually record the audio. However, if you pay attention you should be able to hear what I am saying.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Apostles of Jesus

This past weekend we were able to host Fr. Richard Nyamwaro from the Apostles of Jesus for our missionary appeal. It was great to have him join us and share with us all the work that his society does. Here is a link to the society's website for more information on them. Unfortunately, Fr. Richard was not able to stay around for the Sunday evening Mass, so I attempted to preach on behalf of his society, and I have included the video of the homily below.
As I mentioned in the homily, the American Catholic Church was established by missionaries, and there are so many impressive Catholic churches that were built by the missionaries from other countries. Also, there are so many great examples of Catholic missionaries, but I would like to draw your attention to one in particular. Father Pierre-jean De Smet, S.J. (1801-1873) was known as the Apostle of the Rocky Mountains. I happened to come across a book about Fr. De Smet when I was on retreat in March out in Colorado, and I could not put the book down when I was out there. Fr. De Smet mostly ministered to the Native Americans tribes of the West. This is part of the description on the back of the book: “If anyone will begin this book, he will want to finish it. For it is filled with adventures, descriptions of the Indians, their needs, their faith, their paganism, their willingness to convert, their being corrupted by the white man, etc. etc. Here is a biography that will surprise, inspire and edify readers--- guaranteed! What a story!” Here is a link to more information on the life of Fr. De Smet, and here is a link to in case you want to buy the book. It is definitely worth the read!
I think that we need to remember to pray for the success of the missions more often and to support them as well. I remember in high school that one of my teachers, Brother Alphonsus Martel, FSC, would take a collection everyday for the missions that he supported. He would  always say “My kiddies need money” and then would pass the collection cup around. We too need to continue this by not only supporting charitable organizations for this country, but for the whole world, especially in countries where the word of Christ is being heard for the first time, and where many Christians are being persecuted for their faith.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reflecting on and with the Eucharist

The video is a little shaky at first, but it gets better about 30 seconds in (I guess it's part of the process of adjusting to video). Also, I realized after the 8:30 Mass that my microphone was not working for the first half of my homily, so I hope that this video helps you make sense of the second half of my homily that you heard. Of course in the homily I gave you some homework and to make it easier for you to complete your homework, here is a link to John 6.  Also, make sure to spend some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and see how much more you will fall in love in God.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Faithfully Yours: Discover Natural Family Planning

Throughout the year the United States Catholic Council of Bishops (USCCB) has certain awareness weeks (by the way the USCCB is not just made up of Bishops, but is made up of many priests, religious, and mostly lay people who work on the staff). Anyways, some weeks it is vocation awareness week or Catholic Schools week, etc. Well, this week it is Natural Family Planning Awareness week. Maybe you are aware of this because there were some articles in the Catholic Spirit about it, but chances are you read about it and didn’t think much about it. However, when I was reading the Catholic Spirit I was very impressed with an article written by Stacia Poeschl about her and her husband’s experience with practicing NFP. I will not go into the details of the story, but it is definitely worth a read and you can find it right here. The USCCB also has some testimonials from couples about their experience with NFP, and you can find them here.
In all of these stories the thing that seems to be the main message is how NFP has helped the couples fall even more in love with each other, and also how it is not a burden, but rather a gift for their marriage. The reason why this is the week for NFP awareness is because today, July 25th, is the 44th anniversary of Humanae Vitae which articulates Catholic beliefs about sexuality. Also, tomorrow, July 26th, is the memorial of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, if you have time take a look at some of these articles and also thank God for the gift of human life.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Following the Good Shepherd

With some help from Terry Carter and his son Bret I was able to have my homily from this past weekend video recorded, so thank you Terry and Bret.
As for the homily itself I think that it goes without saying that we should keep the victims and the families of the victims of the shooting in Colorado in our prayers. What we need to do is go to the Good Shepherd and let him guide us. God is there for us, and what we need to do is to turn to him and let him guide us in all times, good and bad.
Also, here is the audio recording of my homily. However, with the video option I am considering dropping the audio. So, if anyone out there really wants me to continue with the audio only option let me know, otherwise I will go to straight video.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Pack Lightly

This past weekend some of my family came out to St. Ambrose for the first time to see the church and also see the rectory, which they were very impressed with. They were also able to go to Mass, and listen to my homily without the people around them knowing who they were. Anyways, at the end of the homily I guess a husband sitting behind them said to his wife that my homily has inspired him to clean the garage. Now this is great, but this should not be the only message from the homily. I also hope that people will be inspired to get rid of any unhealthy attachments that they may have as well. This is a lot harder than cleaning out a garage, but it is definitely worth it. Here is my homily from this past weekend. I have decided to include two different players to play the homily, so hopefully those with Apple products can listen to the homily as well.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This past weekend I decided to switch things up a little and preach on the second reading instead of the Gospel. This reading from Paul I believe speaks volumes to us, especially for those who feel like they can't take anymore. It is important to remember that God will provide the grace that we need to make it through, or as God said to Paul "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Cor. 12: 9. Like I mentioned in the homily (I think) instead of blaming God for the people in our life that sometimes just drive us crazy, let's thank God for them, because what they are doing is helping us grow stronger in Christ. So, this week let's be thankful, and I guarantee that all of us (including me) will be amazed at how much God does provide for us. Here is my homily from this past weekend if you want to listen to it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just Have Faith

What an awesome Gospel we had this past weekend, all about faith. I misquoted the Scripture passage in my homily at the end, the verse is from Mark 5:36, not Matthew. In case you wanted to listen to my homily about the importance of building up our faith here it is:

As I mentioned at the end of Mass I believe that there are many resources out there for us to build up our faith. As for books of course there is the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The United States Catholic Council of Bishops (USCCB) website just put together the Catechism online, and here is the link to this great resource. I also decided to make a video about some of the print options that we have as resources, so here is that video:

As for websites, there are so many that can help us out in our faith, but here are a couple that I think one should be aware of. I already mentioned the USCCB, but it is worth mentioning again. They have the daily readings available as well as daily reflections on the readings, and you can find them here. Of course the Vatican has a website, and here is that link. However, they also have another website that is meant to be more interactive, and here is the link to that website.

I also recommend a website called Catholics Come Home. This website is meant to inspire Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I have found that they have many resources available, as well as many question and answer sections. They also have some great testimonials of people who have come back to the Catholic Church, which will surely inspire you. 

A website that everyone should have bookmarked is their parish website. Now I still believe in the importance of a bulletin, but more and more the parish website is being used to promote parish events, so it is good to check in at least once a week with the parish website. Of course here is the link to St. Ambrose, now just make sure to bookmark it. Also, if you are part of the great Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis make sure to bookmark the Catholic Spirit Website.

Now there are so many other websites that I could mention, but I think it is worth you exploring on your own. However, I would caution you that there are some websites and blogs out there that tend to promote certain views of the Church Universal which are not actually teachings of the Church. So, just make sure to be careful when you are searching, and make sure that the websites and books that you are looking at stay true to the tradition of the Church.

So the only things for you to do now is to actually go and look up some of these resources and learn more about God. What is greater than this? I would say nothing, because we are learning about a God who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello Saint Ambrose!!!!

As mentioned in the video above, here is my homily from this past weekend. You will notice that it keeps on going after the end, and the reason for this is becasue I forgot to turn off the recorder. Once again I hope that you continue to check the blog for updates as well as my facebook page.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

You may notice that I am using some notes on this homily, which is one of the only times that I have done this. The reason why I am using notes is because the Trinity is difficult to talk about, and is easy to make a mistake in describing it.  Also, this is one of my longer homilies, but once again it is because I am talking about the Trinity. I hope that the message you get out of this homily is that we are all called to enter into the mystery of the Trinity through prayer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Using the gifts that God has given you.

I realize that this homily somewhat sounds like an endorsement for Apple and AT&T, but this is not the point. I am for all kinds of smartphones and cell phone carriers, as long as you use them properly. I hope that you enjoy the homily, and can apply it to you own life. If not, don't worry, I'm sure there's an App for it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Being God's Friend

Once again I am happy to say that we have video of my homily, and I truly hope that you find this easier to pay attention too, than just the  audio. This past weekends homily pretty much focused on our relationship with God and how we live out this relationship. The Gospel tells us that God sees us as his friends, but in order for this to happen we need to follow his commandments. So, take some time this week and reexamine your relationship with God and see if it is truly a friendship with him or not.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bearing More Fruit

Come Holy Spirit, Come!!! This is a prayer that we all need to pray more often. This is also a favorite prayer of Archbishop Flynn, it seemed like every time that we prayer before Mass he would just say this prayer over and over again. I hope that you enjoy the video for the homily, I will continue to add the audio for a couple of weeks, and then probably discontinue the audio, but here it is:


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shepherding Yourself

 Many people have asked me how I record my homilies, and as I have mentioned before it is by the great people working the sound board. However, they also want to know what Mass I usually have recorded it at, and it usually is the last Mass that I do for the weekend because I think that I will finally have it all put together. Now this is usually the case, but this past weekend I definitely think that the 10:30 went al lot better than the 5:30, but I did not have the 10:30 recorded, only the 5:30 so that is the one that you can listen to if you want to. The homily was a little longer than usual, and jumped around a little bit, but I think it was a good one. I was even able to reference the Hunger Games in it, so take a listen:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Glorify the Lord by your Life!!!

What a great weekend we just had at Epiphany. Of course we had the First Communions (and will have them for the rest of the children this upcoming weekend), 7 Baptisms, a Marriage, and the first ever CHRIP Retreat for men. Overall, it was a very busy and holy place. However, as I mentioned in my homily this past weekend if we fail to bring these things home with us and just forget about God what good do they actually do? So, if you want to get pumped up in your faith take a listen to the homily, but just don't leave it at that, but then go and try to live out your faith in everything that you do.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Calling All Young Women

The article below appeared in the bulletin this past weekend, but I just thought that I would share it with all of you as well. I know that this has been done before at other parishes, but I think that this is a first for these three parishes.So, please spread the word and let's get some people signed up!!!

The churches of Epiphany, St. Stephen’s and St. Vincent De Paul are excited to offer an opportunity for any woman, 8th grade and above, including those who have graduated from college, an opportunity to visit a few of the religious communities we have in the Twin Cities. We will be meeting at Epiphany on Saturday, April 28, 9:30 a.m., and will go as a group to celebrate Mass and visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Saint Paul. Then we will head to the Missionary Sisters of Peter Claver in Woodbury for a visit, and end the day at The Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters in Minneapolis, then returning to Epiphany around 2 p.m. This tour is free and is intended to show the different religious communities that are nearby. If you have ever wondered where the religious sisters live and what they do then you should join us on April 28 for a very interesting day. Please R.S.V.P to Fr. Carlson, 763.862.4357, or by April 23.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peace Be With You

Take some time this week to reflect on how Jesus shows his love to his disciples when he first appears to them. When you reflect on this you will be moved to more love fore Christ and also you will be moved to try to be more like him. That is what my homily was trying to do so take a listen if you want to:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Growing our Easter Joy

Throughout this Easter season we are called to continue to rejoice in our Risen Savior and cry out Alleluia. The Easter joy that we have should also make us want to experience the love that God has for us even more, and a way that we can do this is through retreats. I’m very excited that we have Christ Renews His Parish (Chirp) starting at Epiphany very soon, and I would like to encourage any parishioner of Epiphany to consider going on this weekend retreat. The weekend for men is April 21-22, and the women’s retreat is May 5-6. The only requirement for you to go on the retreat is that you have to be a parishioner here at Epiphany. If you would like more information or would like to register for this retreat please take a look at this link.
I would also like to encourage you to a Passion and Purpose retreat with national speaker and author Matthew Kelly. This event will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Brooklyn Park on Saturday, May 5. It starts at 9:00 a.m. and goes to 1:30 p.m. and only costs $39. I was able to hear Matthew talk at the Cathedral a couple of weeks ago for the Archdiocesan Men’s Conference and was very impressed. I am sure that this retreat will be well worth going. My sister Annah has also heard Matthew speak before and was very impressed and she would also encourage all of you to come as well. You can find more information on this retreat right here and can also register.
As you can tell there are plenty of opportunities for you to have your faith grow, and these are only a couple of them. I would also encourage you to spend some extra time in prayer this Easter, just giving thanks to God for all that he has done for you. This Easter season is a season full of grace, and God is inviting you to be filled with His amazing grace.