St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – April 11, 2021

Dear friends,

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday and so call to mind the mercy of God that comes to us through Christ Jesus. As we pray on this day, “God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed” (Collect, Second Sunday of Easter). Let us pray on this day that we will accept more fully in our hearts the mercy of God and strive to share this with others by the witness of our lives.

Next Sunday, April 18, Archbishop Rozanski will be here at Saint Joseph Church to celebrate the 11:00 a.m. Mass. During the Mass, he will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on several students in the Saint Joseph Parish School of Religion Program. We congratulate these students, their parents, and their sponsors on this special occasion. Please join us in welcoming the Archbishop of Saint Louis on his first pastoral visit to the Parish.

Lastly, I take this opportunity to thank all who were involved in any way for the celebrations of the Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday. May God bless you all.

In Christ,
Father Bené


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – April 4, 2021

Dear friends,

“I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). With these words, Mary of Magdala communicated to the other disciples that she had encountered the Risen Lord. It is for this reason that Saint Thomas Aquinas refers to Mary of Magdala as the “Apostle to the Apostles.” As followers of Christ, we too are called to announce to others the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus and we do so by our words and by our actions. Indeed, the Resurrection is central to our lives. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us,

Faith in the Resurrection has as its object an event which as historically attested to by the disciples, who really encountered the Risen One. At the same time, this event is mysteriously transcendent insofar as it is the entry of Christ’s humanity into the glory of God. The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there signify in themselves that by God’s power Christ’s body had escaped the bonds of death and corruption. They prepared the disciples to encounter the Risen Lord. Christ, “the first-born from the dead” (Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf. Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf.: Rom 8:11) (656-658).

As we celebrate this Solemnity today, let us rejoice in Christ’s victory over sin and death, and let us entrust ourselves more fully to Him who alone can give us eternal life. May the Risen Lord bless you and your families in a special way in this holy season of Easter.

In Christ,
Father Bené


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 28, 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

Today on Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, the Church throughout the world begins the solemn celebration of Holy Week and so invites us to call to mind the events in the life of Christ that brought about our redemption. As the Sacred Liturgy reminds us, “since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works. Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery, that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection” (Roman Missal, “Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord,” 5).

In this coming week, we are invited to draw closer to the Lord Jesus in our own lives. By entering into the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil, we are encouraged to prayerfully celebrate “the greatest mysteries of our redemption, keeping by means of special celebrations the memorial of her Lord, crucified, buried, and risen” (Roman Missal, “The Sacred Paschal Triduum,” 1).

The following is the parish schedule for the liturgical celebrations of the Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Thursday, April 1: 5:00 p.m.

Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Friday, April 2: 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Solemn Easter Vigil Mass, Saturday, April 3: 7:30 p.m.

Easter Sunday Masses, April 4: 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.

Please join us as we celebrate with the whole Church these most solemn days.

In Christ,
Father Bené


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 21, 2021

The New Covenant

Today’s first reading is an enormously important passage, not only in the history of the Jewish people, but also for us as disciples of Jesus, who see in it a foreshadowing of the Christian dispensation. The prophet announces that God has chosen to forgive the people, and that as a sign of divine forgiveness a new covenant will be established. Contrasting the new covenant with the one made with Moses on Mount Sinai, Jeremiah says that the new covenant will be written on the people’s hearts rather than on tablets of stone. No longer will the community’s tradition be the sole bearer of the covenant; henceforth, God will speak directly and personally to each individual, forgiving sin and calling for a return to God in faithfulness. No longer will mere outward compliance with the dictates of the Law suffice; henceforth, God asks for an obedience that springs from the depths of one’s heart.

Precisely that kind of obedience is highlighted in today’s second reading, where the author of the Letter to the Hebrews describes Jesus as the mediator of the new covenant whose obedience has made him the source of salvation for all who, in turn, obey him.

© J. S. Paluch Co.


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 14, 2021

Dear friends,

Laetare Sunday
This Sunday the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday. The word “laetare” means “to rejoice” and is taken from the Entrance Antiphon of this Mass which begins with the words, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning” (Isaiah 66:10). We rejoice especially on this day because Easter will soon be here—in fact, only three weeks away.

Feast of Saint Patrick
This coming Wednesday, March 17, we call to mind the Memorial of Saint Patrick and so call to mind the witness of this great fifth century missionary and Bishop in Ireland. In anticipation of this day, perhaps we can reflect on the opening words of his Declaration, or Confessio, which he wrote in the latter part of his life on his own personal conversion to the faith many years before:

I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner. I was about sixteen at the time. At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God, and did not keep his commandments. … Even though it came about late, I recognized my failings. So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God, and he looked down on my lowliness and had mercy on my youthful ignorance. He guarded me before I knew him, and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil. He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son (Confessio of Saint Patrick, Royal Irish Academy[2011]), https://www.confessio.ie/etexts/confessio_english# )

Let us pray, through the intercession of Saint Patrick, that we will all be inspired to follow his example of humility and faith.

Solemnity of Saint Joseph
This coming Friday, March 19, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Joseph and so calls to mind the great faith of the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus. Given that this is the Year of Saint Joseph and that Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the Parish, an additional Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 19. Masses on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph will therefore be celebrated at 7:15 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. (with musical accompaniment). Please join us in prayer.

In Christ,
Father Bené


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 7, 2021

From the Apostolic Letter, With a Father’s Heart,
by Pope Francis on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation
of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church

“Get up, take the child and his mother” (Mt 2:13), God told Saint Joseph.

The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.

Indeed, the proper mission of the saints is not only to obtain miracles and graces,
but to intercede for us before God, like Abraham[26] and Moses[27], and like Jesus, the “one mediator” (1 Tim 2:5), who is our “advocate” with the Father (1 Jn 2:1) and who “always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Heb 7:25;
cf. Rom 8:34).

The saints help all the faithful “to strive for the holiness and the perfection of their particular state of life”.[28] Their lives are concrete proof that it is possible to put the Gospel into practice.

Jesus told us: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). The lives of the saints too are examples to be imitated. Saint Paul explicitly says this: “Be imitators of me!” (1 Cor 4:16).[29] By his eloquent silence, Saint Joseph says the same.

Before the example of so many holy men and women, Saint Augustine asked himself: “What they could do, can you not also do?” And so he drew closer to his definitive conversion, when he could exclaim: “Late have I loved you, Beauty ever ancient, ever new!”[30]

We need only ask Saint Joseph for the grace of graces: our conversion.

Let us now make our prayer to him:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

[26] Cf. Gen 18:23-32.
[27] Cf. Ex 17:8-13; 32:30-35.
[28] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 42.
[29] Cf. 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:6.
[30] Confessions, VIII, 11, 27: PL 32, 761; X, 27, 38: PL 32, 795


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 28, 2021

From the Apostolic Letter, With a Father’s Heart, by Pope Francis on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church

A father in the shadows

The Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński, in his book The Shadow of the Father,[24] tells the story of Saint Joseph’s life in the form of a novel. He uses the evocative image of a shadow to define Joseph. In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way. We can think of Moses’ words to Israel: “In the wilderness… you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled” (Deut 1:31). In a similar way, Joseph acted as a father for his whole life.[25]

Fathers are not born, but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person.

Children today often seem orphans, lacking fathers. The Church too needs fathers. Saint Paul’s words to the Corinthians remain timely: “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers” (1 Cor 4:15). Every priest or bishop should be able to add, with the Apostle: “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (ibid.). Paul likewise calls the Galatians: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” (4:19).

Being a father entails introducing children to life and reality. Not holding them back, being overprotective or possessive, but rather making them capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities. Perhaps for this reason, Joseph is traditionally called a “most chaste” father. That title is not simply a sign of affection, but the summation of an attitude that is the opposite of possessiveness. Chastity is freedom from possessiveness in every sphere of one’s life. Only when love is chaste, is it truly love. A possessive love ultimately becomes dangerous: it imprisons, constricts and makes for misery. God himself loved humanity with a chaste love; he left us free even to go astray and set ourselves against him. The logic of love is always the logic of freedom, and Joseph knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the center of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.

Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust. Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would domineer others as a means of compensating for their own needs. It rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction. Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is the fruit of mature sacrifice. The priesthood and consecrated life likewise require this kind of maturity. Whatever our vocation, whether to marriage, celibacy or virginity, our gift of self will not come to fulfillment if it stops at sacrifice; were that the case, instead of becoming a sign of the beauty and joy of love, the gift of self would risk being an expression of unhappiness, sadness and frustration.

When fathers refuse to live the lives of their children for them, new and unexpected vistas open up. Every child is the bearer of a unique mystery that can only be brought to light with the help of a father who respects that child’s freedom. A father who realizes that he is most a father and educator at the point when he becomes “useless”, when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied. When he becomes like Joseph, who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care. In the end, this is what Jesus would have us understand when he says: “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Mt 23:9).

In every exercise of our fatherhood, we should always keep in mind that it has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a “sign” pointing to a greater fatherhood. In a way, we are all like Joseph: a shadow of the heavenly Father, who “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45). And a
shadow that follows his Son.

[24] Original edition: Cień Ojca, Warsaw, 1977.
[25] Cf. SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, 7-8: AAS 82 (1990), 12-16.


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 21, 2021

From the Apostolic Letter, With a Father’s Heart, by Pope Francis
on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as
Patron of the Universal Church

A working father

An aspect of Saint Joseph that has been emphasized from the time of the first social Encyclical, Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, is his relation to work. Saint Joseph was a carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family. From him, Jesus learned the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.

In our own day, when employment has once more become a burning social issue, and unemployment at times reaches record levels even in nations that for decades have enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron.

Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfillment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family. A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living?

Working persons, whatever their job may be, are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us. The crisis of our time, which is economic, social, cultural and spiritual, can serve as a summons for all of us to rediscover the value, the importance and necessity of work for bringing about a new “normal” from which no one is excluded. Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work. The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 14, 2021

From the Apostolic Letter, With a Father’s Heart, by Pope Francis on the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church

A creatively courageous father

If the first stage of all true interior healing is to accept our personal history and embrace even the things in life that we did not choose, we must now add another important element: creative courage. This emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties. In the face of difficulty, we can either give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring out resources we did not even think we had.

As we read the infancy narratives, we may often wonder why God did not act in a more direct and clear way. Yet God acts through events and people. Joseph was the man chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true “miracle” by which God saves the child and his mother. God acted by trusting in Joseph’s creative courage. Arriving in Bethlehem and finding no lodging where Mary could give birth, Joseph took a stable and, as best he could, turned it into a welcoming home for the Son of God come into the world (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Faced with imminent danger from Herod, who wanted to kill the child, Joseph was warned once again in a dream to protect the child, and rose in the middle of the night to prepare the flight into Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14).

A superficial reading of these stories can often give the impression that the world is at the mercy of the strong and mighty, but the “good news” of the Gospel consists in showing that, for all the arrogance and violence of worldly powers, God always finds a way to carry out his saving plan. So too, our lives may at times seem to be at the mercy of the powerful, but the Gospel shows us what counts. God always finds a way to save us, provided we show the same creative courage as the carpenter of Nazareth, who was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence.

If at times God seems not to help us, surely this does not mean that we have been abandoned, but instead are being trusted to plan, to be creative, and to find solutions ourselves. That kind of creative courage was shown by the friends of the paralytic, who lowered him from the roof in order to bring him to Jesus (cf. Lk 5:17-26). Difficulties did not stand in the way of those friends’ boldness and persistence. They were convinced that Jesus could heal the man, and “finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you’” (vv. 19-20). Jesus recognized the creative faith with which they sought to bring their sick friend to him.

The Gospel does not tell us how long Mary, Joseph and the child remained in Egypt. Yet they certainly needed to eat, to find a home and employment. It does not take much imagination to fill in those details. The Holy Family had to face concrete problems like every other family, like so many of our migrant brothers and sisters who, today too, risk their lives to escape misfortune and hunger. In this regard, I consider Saint Joseph the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.

At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Mt 1:24; 2:14.21). Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith.[21]

In the divine plan of salvation, the Son is inseparable from his Mother, from Mary, who“advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the cross”.[22]

We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are also mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safekeeping. The Son of the Almighty came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph. God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child.

In this sense, Saint Joseph could not be other than the Guardian of the Church, for the Church is the continuation of the Body of Christ in history, even as Mary’s motherhood is reflected in the motherhood of the Church.[23] In his continued protection of the Church, Joseph continues to protect the child and his mother, and we too, by our love for the Church, continue to love the child and his mother.

That child would go on to say: “As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Consequently, every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is “the child” whom Joseph continues to protect. For this reason, Saint Joseph is invoked as protector of the unfortunate, the needy, exiles, the afflicted, the poor and the dying. Consequently, the Church cannot fail to show a special love for the least of our brothers and sisters, for Jesus showed a particular concern for them and personally identified with them. From Saint Joseph, we must learn that same care and responsibility. We must learn to love the child and his mother, to love the sacraments and charity, to love the Church and the poor. Each of these realities is always the child and his mother.

[21] Cf. S. RITUUM CONGREGATIO, Quemadmodum Deus (8 December 1870): ASS 6 (1870-1871), 193; BLESSED PIUS IX, Apostolic Letter Inclytum Patriarcham (7 July 1871): l.c., 324-327.
[22] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 58.
[23] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 963-970.