St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 23, 2019

Hello,

And good bye. This is my last weekend as pastor at St. Joseph’s and I would like to thank all of you for the past six years that I have spent with you. As a priest I am blessed to be able to celebrate so many major events with you of both sad times, like funerals, and joyful times like weddings, baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations. And then there are all the occasions in between these major ones that we were able to experience and live our lives together.

When I was coming here I expected other people to comment about the noon Mass we have each weekday, but was happily surprised to hear that more people commented about the 11:00 Confessions every weekday. The parish is seen for these sacraments by many as being in the business area where people are during the day, and we have tried to serve them in this way and in other manners to help them live and grow in their faith, but we are also a local parish.

Families young and old make up our parish, some that just recently moved here, and others who have been here for generations. The active PSR that not only supports our children but also those of neighboring parishes. The St. Vincent de Paul Society that is not only a means to serve the poor but a way in which many of our community grow in their faith and in this community. I was happy to be able to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the parish with you while I was here, and hearing of the many personal histories of people with the parish and the school and trying to make some chronological sense as you recollected the history of the parish.

But now I am packing up to move. As those who have been here a long time have seen other pastors come and go I know my six years have been a relatively short time, but I am very grateful for them. I hope I was able to help many of you grow in your relationship with Christ, and with one another here as the body of Christ, as you have for me. Thank you for this and all of our experiences together and I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I will keep you in mine.

Peace,
Fr. Nick

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Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 16, 2019

Happy Father’s Day,

What do you call your father and why? The standard names can be Dad, Daddy, Pop (that is the one me and my siblings use), Papa, P a, or Father (seems a bit formal). Some may be from different languages: Père (French), Padre (Spanish), or Abba (Aramaic). As we celebrate Father’s Day and also the Feast of the HolyTrinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it may be interesting to consider why we call our fathers what we call them and how that compares with God?

As with most names there is a bit of a dynamics that is worked out between what the people themselves want to be called and what the one saying it wants to or will use. For parents this usually starts with what the person wants to be called, as that is what they will teach their child as they learn to talk and grow up. Sometimes this is somewhat modified at the earliest of ages though as the child can’t make certain sounds very well or something else just comes out (I think that is why Mom and Dad are both pretty simple). As the youngest of my siblings I know I pretty much just followed what was already established by the 6 older siblings.

You might compare my younger sibling comment along with what God wanted to be called with how we refer to God the Father, Jesus told us. It wasn’t just a copying of what Jesus said, but he instructed us, invited us to use that term, because of the relationship it expresses. Jesus asking us to use that term shows the relationship we are to have. Kind of like when a new person marries into the family, what do they call their mother-in-law or father-in-law? What is used says something about the relationship. If they use the same term as their spouse, like dad, then it clearly shows an acceptance into the family. Sometimes the parent will even specifically invite them to use that term. Other times it can be just using their first name as friends do. If it stays as Mr. —–, as it usually is when a couple is first dating, then it definitely can feel that there is a distance and not the closest relationship for most of us. But again there might be a history we don’t know ofso we shouldn’t be too quick to assume a reason we don’t know about.

I remember meeting the father of a friend in high school who I called Mr. Graf, but my friend called his dad ‘Carl’. I never have found out how or why that started but it was definitely strange to me. He could be Carl to anyone, but only a few people would call him Dad, so why not identify that special relationship? Similarly as we celebrate the Trinity, What does it mean that we call God by the name Father?

Hopefully, like with our own fathers, it declares the special relationship that exists. Jesus uses it in showing His relationship but his invitation for us to also use it shows the closeness of a relationship that God wants with each of us. As we think of our fathers today let us also think of the relationship we have with God, and that this should be like an ideal relationship we could have with our fathers. Thank you for all the fathers who have helped us learn what it means to love.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – June 9, 2019

Hello,

When we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost we remember the gift that was given to the Apostles, to speak in the many different tongues that all could understand. Always being challenged by different languages myself I have always been impressed with people who can speak a variety of languages fluently, especially since the more I learn about any language the less I would ever even trust myself with a critical written translation. I think on Pentecost it is even more of a time to be grateful for the ability to communicate.

I heard on the radio a short reading from the play of “The Miracle Worker” the other day and it was the passage where Helen Keller is being described as first understanding language as Annie Sullivan signs the word for ‘water’ in her hand as she places her hand in water. Being blind and deaf, up until that moment she probably hadn’t considered a concept of language, to allow communication. This is a means by which we can go beyond our own experiences and to share ours with others and to learn from those of others. They also commented about how you see the amazement in Helen Keller’s realization of this and similarly you can see it in a child at times when they are first learning to speak, the excitement they show as they repeat certain words.

As we celebrate Pentecost maybe we can consider some of that excitement in regards to a growing in an understanding of our faith, about God, about love, about sacrifice or suffering or mercy. These are some of the things about Jesus that I imagine the Apostles were telling the crowds. But like us, it is one things to hear the words, but then another to understand the meaning. That is something that is a real gift of communication. And once we understand that is only to be the first step. As we celebrate Pentecost I hope that we can get so excited, like Helen Keller, or a young child, or those at Pentecost. Realizing the incredible gift to grow in our understanding of God in our lives, and then to have the desire, the joy, the gift to communicate and share that with others.

Peace,
Fr. Nick