St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

106 N. Meramec Avenue – Clayton MO 63105 – Parish Office (314) 726-1221

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 9, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Next Saturday, August 15, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We know that Mary is the mother of Jesus who is Christ, the Son of God. She can rightly be called Mother of God because of the fact that she is His mother. In her conception, Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin and throughout her life she did not sin so much was her will consonant with that of her Son. For this reason, when the course of her earthly life was finished, Mary was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven from where she continually intercedes for
us to God.

This teaching which is a dogma of our faith and has a long history in the life of the Church as attested to by, for example, Saint John of Damascus who wrote the following regarding the teaching of the Church of Jerusalem concerning the assumption of Mary into heaven:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon, made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; where from the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven (P.G., I, 96).

On this solemnity, let us pray through the intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption that we will strive to be as faithful to following Christ as she was, so that we, too, will one day be brought to the glory of the Resurrection.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 2, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Feast of Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars

This Tuesday, August 4, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars. On this day, we call to mind the sanctity of this parish priest who placed prayer at the center of his life and who devoted himself especially to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation.

When the young priest Father John Vianney arrived in the little town of Ars-sur-Formans in southeast France, there was certainly a parish there but there weren’t many people frequenting the parish church. Here we recall that this was in the years following the French Revolution, a consequence of which was the gradual secularization of French society. For this reason, it is not altogether surprising that Father Vianney was met with this challenging situation at his parish. Instead of giving up, however, he devoted himself all the more to prayer and dedicated himself to the reverent celebration of the Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. Gradually townsfolk began to learn of his holiness and were drawn to the Sacraments. By the end of his life, he was known throughout France especially for his dedication to hearing the confessions of the faithful.

On this feast day, let us pray for all parish priests, that, through the intercession of the Curé of Ars, they will dedicate themselves, above all, to prayer and to the Sacraments of the Church so that they will become increasingly authentic witnesses to the Gospel message of the love of Christ, reconciliation with Him, and the extension of His charity to others.

Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

This Wednesday, August 5, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Here we recall that this feast day celebrates the dedication of the Patriarchial Basilica dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God,popularly known as Our Lady of the Snows.

On this day, we call to mind that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the perfect disciple of the Lord and the person closest to Christ. She is rightly called Mother of God because she is the mother of Jesus who is a divine Person with a human nature. Oftentimes on returning from a pastoral visit, our Holy Father Pope Francis makes his way to the chapel in the Basilica in which the icon of Salus Populi Romani. or Health or Salvation of the Roman People. is kept and there prays before the holy image as he invokes her intercession.

On this feast day, let us pray through the intercession of the Mother of God that, in imitation of her, we will draw all the more closely to Christ so that we will more fully extend His love, mercy, and forgiveness to others.

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

This Thursday, August 6, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration. Here we recall the miraculous event in which Our Lord was transfigured in the presence of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, on the holy mountain and in which the Prophets Moses and Elijah appeared alongside the Lord Jesus. This event was a foreshadowing of the Resurrection of Jesus and so provided hope to the disciples that even though Jesus would suffer and die on the Cross He would be raised from the dead to new life and thus become the source of salvation for all who believe.

Even though we continue to live with uncertainty in these days, we know that that this will eventually lead to something altogether better. All we need do is look at the present circumstances through the eyes of faith in order to see that the Lord Jesus accompanies us through every aspect of our lives. He wants us to experience a deep and abiding peace of heart and He gives us His grace to experience this in our own lives. May this feast day be an invitation for us to entrust ourselves all the more to the Lord Jesus as we look to Him who alone is the way, the truth, and the life for all people.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 26, 2020

Upcoming Amendment 2 Vote

Remember on August 4th Amendment 2, expanding Medicaid eligibility in our state, will be on the ballot. Currently Missouri is one of only 13 states in which non-disabled adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are generally ineligible for Medicaid no matter how low their income.

More than 230,000 Missourians currently living without health insurance would gain access to Medicaid with a successful ballot initiative. Missouri would demonstrate its commitment to the dignity of human life.

Please prayerfully consider voting yes on Amendment 2 on August 4th. For more information, contact Tamara Kenny, director of advocacy and community engagement at Catholic Charities of St. Louis, at or (314) 256-5948.

A Share in God’s Kingdom

Today concludes a three-week series of Gospel texts in which we have listened to a total of seven parables about the
Kingdom. The believer is asked to consider the request that God made of Solomon in today’s first reading: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you” (1 Kings 3:5). Today’s parables about the treasure buried in the field and the pearl of great price should prompt us to answer, “A share in your kingdom, O God!” Today we discover that the kingdom of God is beyond value, a priceless treasure. Unfortunately, our culture bombards us with things that it believes are priceless treasures—the bigger and better SUVs, anti-aging and anti-balding creams and salves, miracle diets, and so much more. Having a share in God’s kingdom and helping to bring about that kingdom are the greatest treasures that we can ever hope to gain.

© J.S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 19, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Repair of sidewalk and widening of east side entrance to the parking lot

You may have noticed that the sidewalk and entrance to the parish parking lot on the east side of the property have been under construction. We are grateful that the City of Clayton is repairing that part of the sidewalk and widening that entrance way to accommodate more easily vehicles that enter through it. The hope is that this will preclude them from hitting the stone wall on the south side of the entrance way.

Statue of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis

You may have been following the recent controversy regarding the placement of the statue of Saint Louis on Art Hill in Forest Park. The statue is entitled the Apotheosis of Saint Louis. The original plaster cast of it stood near the entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair. Reflecting upon it, Rolla Wells, the Mayor of the City of Saint Louis from 1901 to 1909, wrote that the statue was placed there as Saint Louis is the patron saint of the City and was meant to be a symbol of peace as evidenced by the transposed sword in his hand (“From Episodes of My Life, the Statue of St. Louis,” in Seeking St. Louis: Voices of a River City: 1670-2000 [2000], 477).

After the Fair, the statue was cast in bronze and presented by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company to the City of Saint Louis in 1906. On the occasion of the presentation of the statue, David R. Francis, President of the Company and former Governor of Missouri and Mayor of Saint Louis, said in his address that “as the property of the people, I confide this superb statue of our patron saint” (ibid.). While none of the saints in the history of the Church were perfect, they gradually responded to the grace of God at work in their hearts to draw close to Him and ultimately became models of virtue. Such was the case with Louis IX and such was also the case with his younger sister, Isabelle, who was also canonized.

In light of the controversy regarding the statue of the patron saint of the City and County of Saint Louis, and indeed the Archdiocese, the words of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis seem particularly apropos at the present time: “the removal of the statue will not erase the history, but our present day collaboration can help us move forward” (Ghazala Hayat, Chair Public Affairs Committee, Statement of June 2020). Here I am reminded of the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis who said that

Like Christ on the way to Emmaus, the Church wishes to be close to and to accompany every man and woman. Such a readiness to walk together is much more necessary in this day and age, marked by profound and never-before-known interactions between diverse peoples and cultures. In this context, the Church will be ever more committed to travel along the path of dialogue and to intensify the already fruitful cooperation with all those who, belonging to different religious traditions, share her intention to build relations of friendship and share in the many initiatives of dialogue (Message of Pope Francis on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, May 19, 2014).

Let the present moment be an opportunity for us to pray for such collaboration between Christians and those of other religious traditions with a view toward friendship marked by dialogue.

In Christ,

Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 12, 2020

Amendment 2, Medicaid Expansion,
on the August 4 Ballot

Catholic Charities of St. Louis joins Catholic Charities agencies across the state, the Catholic bishops of Missouri, and the Missouri Catholic health systems in supporting Amendment 2 on the August 4th ballot, expanding Medicaid eligibility in our state.

Medicaid is a joint program of federal and state governments that provides public health insurance to low-income Americans. Currently in Missouri, 88% of those enrolled in Medicaid are children, people with disabilities, and seniors. The remaining 12% are pregnant women and parents with custody of children.

Missouri is one of only 13 states in which non-disabled adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are generally ineligible for Medicaid no matter how low their income.

More than 230,000 Missourians currently living without health insurance would gain access to Medicaid with a successful ballot initiative. Missouri would demonstrate its commitment to the dignity of human life.

Please prayerfully consider voting yes on Amendment 2 on August 4th.

For more information, contact Tamara Kenny, director of advocacy and community engagement at Catholic Charities of St. Louis, at or (314) 256-5948.

There are yard signs available for pick up at 1 of 3 locations in the STL area:

Urban League: 935 Vandeventer Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
Monday-Friday, 9-5
Urban League: 8960 Jennings Station Rd, St. Louis, MO 63136
Monday-Friday, 9-5
League of Women Voters: 8706 Manchester Rd Suite 104 St. Louis, MO 63144
Monday-Friday, 9:30-5

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 5, 2020

Dear friends,

Independence Day
This weekend we celebrate the Fourth of July and so call to mind the historical events which led up to the founding of our country as the United States of America. In particular, we call to mind the sacrifices of so many people who have given of themselves in service of our country.

As we celebrate this weekend, let us pray in thanksgiving to God for the many ways in which He has blessed us, and let us ask Him to continue to bless all who live within our country, that He will give us His grace to come together in defense and promotion of the common good of all the people.

New Coordinator of Religious Education
I am pleased to inform you that we have a new Coordinator of Religious Education for the Parish School of Religion Program here at Saint Joseph Parish. Her name is Miss Kelly Holton.

Miss Holton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, has Missouri Teacher Certification, and is completing a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, Connecticut. She has taught at Annunziata, Holy Redeemer, and Saint Clement of Rome Parish. Interestingly enough, she was baptized at a church we all know and love: Saint Joseph, here in Clayton.

Miss Holton looks forward to beginning her role as Coordinator of Religious Education beginning this fall semester. She has a lot of responsibilities as our Program serves both students in our parish as well as those in surrounding parishes. Last year there were a total of 143 students in our classes which are held on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings. If you are interested in teaching in the program this fall, please contact Miss Holton through the parish office. Please pray for Miss Holton, the teachers, and the students that the Holy Spirit will be with them all in a special way as the new school year begins this September.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 28, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As we continue making our way through the summer months we pause this week to celebrate two important feast days celebrating the life of three of the Apostles.

The first is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, June 29. Like all the saints, they had unique vocations in Christ. Peter was called by Christ to be the leader of the Apostles and eventually the first Bishop of Rome, while Paul was called by Christ to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Both were known for their great faith in the face of adversity. They are the co-founders of the Church of Rome and it is there where they were martyred. On this day, we invoke their intercession and ask them to pray for us especially in difficult moments of our lives that the grace of God will always sustain us.

The second feast day we celebrate this week is the Feast of Saint Thomas on Friday, July 3. Here we recall that Thomas was also chosen by Christ to be one of His Apostles. Tradition has it that Thomas preached the Gospel as far away as in India where he also was martyred for his faith in Christ. On this day, we invoke his intercession and ask him to pray for us that we too will respond generously to our calling in Christ to be faithful witnesses to Him however He calls us.

Next Saturday, July 4, we commemorate Independence Day. On this day, we call to mind that it was on this date in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence which ultimately led to the founding of the United States of America.

On July 4, let us pray that, even in the midst of the present civil unrest in our country, we will all come together in promoting the values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, especially those contained in the opening words of its Preamble in which it affirms: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 21, 2020

Dear friends,

Father’s Day

On this third Sunday of June we commemorate Father’s Day and so call to mind the gift of fatherhood. As we do so, we call to mind the example of Saint Joseph, the patron of fathers.

Saint Joseph was a carpenter by trade, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster father of Jesus. Above all, Joseph was a man of great faith. Even though he did not initially understand his role of salvation history, he nonetheless trusted in the Lord God and took Mary as his wife. While the Sacred Scriptures do not tell us much about the inner life of Joseph, we know that he was a man who dedicated himself to God, to Mary, and to the Lord Jesus.

Reflecting upon the qualities of Saint Joseph, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, had this to say about this great Saint during the Mass he celebrated on the inauguration of his Petrine ministry:

Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! … Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! (Homily, Pope Francis, March 19, 2013)

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, we pray for all fathers, that they will always be strengthened by the example and the prayers of Saint Joseph, so that they will all the more generously fulfill their vocation in Christ.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 14, 2020

Dear friends,

First Holy Communion and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

This weekend we congratulate the fourteen children of the Parish who are receiving their First Holy Communion on June 13, the Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua. They have spent several months in spiritual preparation for this day. We are grateful above all to their parents as well as to their catechists for having prepared them to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

This Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ and so focuses especially on the gift of the Holy Eucharist. We believe that Jesus meant what He said at the Last Supper with His Apostles when He said to them, “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood,” as we believe that in the celebration of the Mass the bread and wine become His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. In Holy Communion we receive this greatest Sacrament and so are spiritually strengthened to live our lives more fully in Him. On this day, we give thanks to God for giving us His Son and allowing us to participate in His life.

Prayer for conversion of hearts, for peace and justice, and for reconciliation

In light of the present civil unrest in our country, I respectfully draw your attention to the pastoral letter, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, which was published just a little over a year ago by the Conference of Bishop of our country and which addresses the Catholic response to racism in our country. This pastoral letter is available at the following link:

Open Wide Our Hearts focuses especially on the Native American, the African American, and the Hispanic experiences of racism in our country and points to the need for interior personal conversion to put an end to all forms of racism. The pastoral letter encourages us to place the love of Christ at the center of our lives. It challenges us to make this love operative in our daily lives and in our interactions with others. It invites us to recognize our own sinfulness. It calls us to encounter others and build new relationships. It challenges us to resolve to work for justice, to educate ourselves, to work in our churches, to change structures, to encourage the conversion of all persons, to commit ourselves to human life, and to entrust ourselves above all to God.

Let us pray in these coming days that all those who live within our country will respond generously to the call to recognize the inherent dignity of each and every person, and let us pray, as well, that we will all work peacefully together so that our country will advance on the road to the realization of justice, love, and peace.

Retirement of Archbishop and appointment of new Archbishop

This past week our Holy Father Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Robert Carlson and appointed Archbishop-designate Mitchell Rozanski as the new Archbishop of Saint Louis. We give thanks to God for the 11 years of pastoral service of Archbishop Carlson here, as well as for his 50 years of priestly service, and we ask the Lord to bless him as he soon begins his retirement. We also give thanks to God for the appointment of Archbishop-designate Rozanski and we ask the Lord to bless him as he new assumes his new pastoral responsibilities on August 25, the Solemnity of Saint Louis.

In Christ,
Father Bené