St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 7, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Prayer for peace, justice, and reconciliation

As we make our way into the month of June, we know that we are still living in the midst of uncertainty not only because of the effects of the pandemic but also because of the civil unrest we are experiencing in our country.

While the principle of the freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy, what is needed is, as Pope Saint Paul VI once put it, the exercise of “responsible freedom of expression” (Message of the Holy Father for the World Social Communications Day, May 7, 1967). There is no room for violence. In fact, violence is antithetical to responsible freedom of expression. What is needed at the present time is the conversion of hearts, the promotion of lasting peace and justice, and reconciliation among persons. May I kindly ask that you join me in praying for this grace.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

We pause on this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity which the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights as the “central mystery of Christian faith and life” (234). As we celebrate this Solemnity, we call to mind that God has revealed Himself as one God in three persons and invites us to share in His life by faith and baptism. By being baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we participate in the life of God which is a communion of love. Our life in God draws us out of ourselves to Him and out of ourselves to others, especially those in need.

First Holy Communion

I am pleased to inform you that next Saturday, June 13, the day before the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, fourteen children of the Parish will be receiving their First Holy Communion at Saint Joseph Church. Please pray for them and their families that they will experience in a profound way the graces that come from receiving the Body of Christ in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 30, 2020

Dear friends,

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost and so call to mind the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. We recall that after the Risen Lord ascended to heaven, He did not abandon us but sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us always.

This feast day that the Church celebrates today calls to mind the event whereby the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles gathered in prayer in the upper room. The Acts of the Apostles details what happened on this occasion: “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:1-4).

We receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and in the Sacrament of Confirmation we receive an intensification of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit encourages us in our weakness and strengthens us to witness to Christ in our day to day lives. While there is indeed suffering and uncertainty at the present time, we take consolation in the fact that the Spirit of God remains with us to comfort us in our need.

As we make our way into the month of June, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will give us His grace, so that we can experience in an ever more profound way the fruits of the Holy Spirit which Saint Paul the Apostle describes as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 24, 2020

Dear friends,

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

As we continue making our way through the latter days of the season of Easter, we pause on this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. We know that after He was raised from the dead to new life, the Risen Lord assured His disciples that even though He would depart from them He would never abandon them but would send them the Holy Spirit to be with them always.

In these final weeks of the season of Easter, perhaps we can continue prayerfully reflecting upon the fact that even though the Risen Lord is not present to us in the same way as He was in the days following His Resurrection, He is just as present to us through the Sacraments and by His Spirit that He has given us to strengthen us in our faith.

Renovated parish hall restrooms

I am pleased to inform you that the parish hall restrooms have been renovated and that the hall, along with its kitchen and the meeting room, has been repainted. I am also pleased to inform you that work has been underway in the plastering and painting of the vestibules of the church.

Prayer for peace of heart

Even though we continue to face uncertainty in our community, our country, and our world, we continue to pray for the peace that only Christ can give, a peace that rests on the sure and certain hope that He alone can provide us with all that we need in this life with a view to the life to come.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 17, 2020

Dear friends,

Resumption of publicly celebrated Masses
I am pleased to inform you that the Archbishop has given permission for publicly celebrated Masses to resume on Monday, May 18, with appropriate social distancing. The following are some of the highlights of the instructions that have been provided by the Archdiocese:

• the Archbishop continues to give a dispensation to all Catholics of the Archdiocese who are not
able to come to Mass because of risk of illness or age
• the Sign of Peace will not be offered
• Holy Communion will not be distributed via the Chalice
• floor markings six feet apart will be in place up the main aisle to facilitate proper social distancing
for the reception of Holy Communion
• participants are obliged to wear a mask
• stationery baskets will be used for the offertory collection

Please know that this past week the church and parish hall have been cleaned in preparation.

The promised gift of the Holy Spirit
In anticipation of our resumption of publicly celebrated Masses, it almost seems providential that our readings from the Sacred Scriptures this Sunday focus especially on the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. We know that, during the time the Risen Lord was with His disciples, He promised them that, even though He would ascend to His Father, He would send them the Holy Spirit to be with them always.

We receive the Holy Spirit especially through the Sacraments. The gift of the Holy Spirit to God’s holy people is a constant reminder to us that God will never abandon us, that He will always be with us, and that He will always give us His grace. The key, of course, lay in asking for His help by responding in our hearts to Him and to His love.

As we move through this week, let us pray for all who are suffering at the present time, especially those who are sick and those who are unemployed, and let us pray for the blessings of God in a special way to all people.

In Christ,
Father Bené