St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 25, 2020

Dear friends,

Those interested in becoming Catholic

I am pleased to inform you that we have resumed our Rite of Christian of Adults program as there are some in our community who would like to become members of the Catholic Church. Parishioners Stephen Fahrig, S.T.D., and Don Gayou, Ph.D., are joining with me in providing catechetical formation to them. The presentations are held every other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. beginning on November 3. If you know anyone interested in becoming Catholic, please have them contact me.

Upcoming presidential election

As followers of Christ, we have the responsibility to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel and this includes by engaging in the civil political process. As our Holy Father Pope Francis put it, as Catholics “we need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern” (Morning Meditation of His Holiness Pray for politicians that they govern us well, September 16, 2013).

Given the upcoming United States presidential election, I respectfully draw your attention to Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, a document on the political responsibility of Catholics which has been published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This publication can be found here in both English and Spanish:

We have the responsibility to elect political leaders who work to protect and promote all human rights, which Pope Saint John Paul II enumerated in his Encyclical Centesimus annus, 47, as
1. the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception
2. the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality
3. the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth
4. the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents
5. the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality
6. the right to religious freedom—the source and synthesis of all rights—understood as the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person

May those who elected to political office always work to protect and promote the common good of the people.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 18, 2020

In God Alone

Isaiah speaks to us today of Cyrus, King of Persia, anointed by the Lord. God calls Cyrus by name and leads him in service to the Israelites. In this passage we hear that it is the Lord who gives Cyrus his title, who arms him against his enemies, and who opens doors and unbars gates before him. And God does all of this so that the people will know that “I am the LORD,” and that “there is none besides me” (Isaiah 45:6).

Paul opens his letter with essentially the same notion—that in God alone we find our grace and peace. Paul also gives thanks to God on our behalf, calling to mind our work of faith, hope, and love. And in the familiar Gospel reading, Jesus tells the Pharisees to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 11, 2020

Dear friends,

This week the Church honors two saints, in particular: Saint Teresa of Ávila on October 15 and Saint Ignatius of Antioch on October 17.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

Saint Teresa (1515-1582) was a Spanish noblewoman who became a Carmelite nun and devoted herself, above all, to prayer and to action. She was known for the contemplative life she lived and for reforming the Carmelites Orders of men and women. She wrote many spiritual works which have had a great deal of influence on the Church to the present day.

Here is just one example of her writing: “Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Saint Ignatius (d. c. 108) was the third Bishop of Antioch and is known as one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Church. He authored seven letters to Christian communities in the region of the Mediterranean and is the first to have used the term “catholic” in reference to the Church.

Ignatius is known for his great faith especially in the face of adversity. As he wrote not long before his own martyrdom, “I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, 4).

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 4, 2020

Dear friends,

This Sunday, October 4, is the liturgical feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226) in the General Roman Calendar.

While his feast day is not celebrated this year on October 4 given that it is the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, the feast day of Saint Francis still invites us to reflect upon this saint whose life inspires us to follow Christ more closely.

We know that Saint Francis was born in the hilltop town of Assisi in the region of Umbria which is located in central Italy just north of Rome. He came from a wealthy family that dealt in textiles and it was understood that he would take up this work in his own life.

Yet we know that this is not what he chose to do, for instead of working in textiles he decided to give up his wealth and turned to living the life of a mendicant. Indeed, he gradually inspired others to follow the same way of life, and he eventually founded a religious order known as the Order of Friars Minor, commonly referred to as the Franciscans.

The apostolate of the Order of Friars Minor is the announcement of the message of the Gospel with a special concern for the poor. Their work is found in living of the values of the Gospel by their prayer and by the witness of their lives, especially in caring for those in need.

The example of Saint Francis is an invitation for us not to let anything of this world stand in the way of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. In fact, the example of Saint Francis inspires us to dedicate ourselves as well to the values of the Gospel. Not surprisingly, the motto of the Franciscans is “Meus Deus et omnia,” in English, “My God and my all.”

As we make our way through this coming week, perhaps we can ask the Lord Jesus to help us live more closely our lives as His disciples, so that we too can increasingly experience the fruits of the Spirit and ultimately share in His life forever.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 27, 2020

Dear friends,

This Thursday we enter into October and so call to mind that this month is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Rosary, as the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7.

The Rosary is a time-honored prayer in which we focus in a special way on the life of Christ and that of His mother. In the Rosary, we continually pray two of the most known prayers, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ave Maria, or Hail Mary.

The Lord’s Prayer is so named because it was given to us by Jesus Himself, for which reason it is also referred to as the perfect prayer. Here we recall the words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples on this occasion, as He told them: “This is how you are to pray…” (Matthew 6:9).

The Hail Mary takes its name from the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary on the occasion of the announcement that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. Here we recall the salutation of the Archangel who said to Mary: “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

In prayer we entrust ourselves more fully to the Lord. For this reason, it is altogether important that we continually draw close to Him in our lives especially by lifting up our hearts and minds in prayer to Him.

This month we also call to mind that October is Respect Life Month in the United States. Respecting life means protecting, defending, and promoting all human life and throughout the life cycle, that is, from conception to natural death. For us as followers of Christ, we are called to do our part in caring for all persons and by promoting a culture of life in our community and society.

We know that Mary said yes to human life by consenting to become the Mother of God. We know, too, that during His ministry among us the Lord Jesus cared for the sick and the poor. May we, in imitation of Our Lady and Her Son, be drawn to more fully promote human life by our words and by our actions, that is, by the witness of our lives.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 20, 2020

Dear friends,

This past Tuesday, the Most Reverend Mark S. Rivituso, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, was here at Saint Joseph Church to celebrate Mass and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on twenty students who had been preparing to receive this Sacrament. We congratulate them and their sponsors on this special occasion and we thank all those involved in the prayerful liturgical celebration.

I thought you might find it interesting to see the saints whom they chose for their Confirmation names: Saint Alexandra, Saint Aloysius, Saint Ann, Saint Antoine, Saint Athanasius, Saint Anthony, Saint Camille, Saint Frances, Saint George, Saint Hubertus, Saint Joseph, Saint Katharine, Saint Lawrence, Saint Maria, Saint Martha, Saint Matthew, Saint Patrick, Saint Rose, and Saint Theresa.

While not providing a biography on each of these saints, I would like to draw your attention to two who may not be as known as the others, namely, Saints Camille and Hubertus. Saint Camille is Camilla Battista da Varano, O.S.C. (1458-1524), an Italian princess and Poor Clare nun and abbess, who is invoked in time of plague. Saint Hubertus is Hubert (c. 656-727), the first Bishop of the Diocese of Liège, Belgium, who is the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers.

The custom of taking an additional name at Confirmation has a long history in the life of the Roman Church. One who takes the name of a saint at Confirmation is provided with another heavenly patron whom they can invoke in the prayers as protector and guide.

May I kindly ask that you pray for those who have received the Sacrament here that the Holy Spirit will always strengthen them with His grace so that they will more fully be able to live their life in Christ.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 13, 2020

Dear friends,

Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation

This Tuesday, September 15, the Most Reverend Mark S. Rivituso, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, will celebrate Holy Mass here at Saint Joseph Church at 7:00 p.m. during which he will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on nineteen students in the Saint Joseph Parish School of Religion Program.

Originally their reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation was scheduled to take place this past April but was not held given the pandemic. We are delighted that Bishop Rivituso is coming here to Saint Joseph Parish to confer the Sacrament. From the outset, I take this opportunity to thank the students who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation for their patience over the last several months. I also thank their parents and teachers, the catechists, who have prepared them for this day.

In Confirmation, which, along with Baptism and the Eucharist, is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, we are given an intensification of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us live out our vocation, or calling, in Christ. As Pope Saint John Paul II once put it, “By bringing baptismal grace to fulfillment, Confirmation unites us more firmly to Jesus Christ and to his Body, the Church. This sacrament also increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us, to give us ‘a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross’” (General Audience, October 14, 1998).

It goes without saying that there are many challenges in the world today. For this reason, it is all the more important that we receive the graces that come from the reception of this Sacrament.

May I kindly ask that you pray for the students who will be confirmed this week that the Holy Spirit will be with them always as they strive to follow the Lord Jesus by their lives.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 6, 2020

Dear friends,

Labor Day
This Monday, September 7, we commemorate the federal holiday of Labor Day and so call to mind the dignity of work and the importance of rest from work.

Interestingly enough, the modern day form of the social teaching of the Church can be traced to the teaching of Pope Leo XIII contained in his Encyclical Rerum novarum which focused especially on the rights of workers. One of the main issues of the day was that their rights were being trampled upon by businesses to such an extent that workers were suffering. In response, Leo XIII set out in Rerum novarum specific principles that must be upheld for workers based on their inherent dignity as persons. In our own day, Pope Saint John Paul II further advanced the social teaching of the Church in this regard with his promulgation of the Encyclical Laborem exercens. Among other things, he focused on the increase in information technology, environmental issues, and the desire of those in developing countries to participate in the global economy.

On this Labor Day, let us not forget those who are in need of gainful employment. Let us also pray that we will all have the opportunity on this day to enjoy some rest from our work.

Parish School of Religion
The first days of the Parish School of Religion will be next Sunday and Monday, September 13 and 14, respectively. As we begin this school year, we pray for all of our students and teachers. In particular, we ask the Holy Spirit to be with them as they learn more about our faith and translating it into action in their daily lives.

This year we warmly welcome Miss Kelly Holton who is the new Coordinator of Religious Education. Kelly comes to us with experience in having taught in parish school of religion programs in the area and has just completed a Master of Arts degree in Theology. Kelly is responsible for the coordination of religious education in the parish and has been busy cleaning the classrooms and putting in place the requirements of the present County health order.

Please pray for her, the students, and the teachers that the Lord Jesus will bless them in a special way.

In Christ,
Father Bené

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

Dear friends,

This past Tuesday on the Solemnity of Saint Louis IX, the Most Reverend Mitchell Thomas Rozanski was installed as the tenth Archbishop of Saint Louis in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Father Mike Donald and I, along with some parishioners, were able to be present for this historic occasion. Given the present health order, seating was limited and yet a considerable number of persons were able to be there given the significant size of the Cathedral Basilica.

At the beginning of the Mass of Installation, the representative of our Holy Father publicly read the Apostolic Letter by which Pope Francis appointed the Most Reverend Mitchell Rozanski as Archbishop of Saint Louis and conferred on him the Pallium, a woolen vestment which consists of a narrow circular band placed around the shoulders with a short lappet hanging from the front and back.

The Pallium represents “the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life” and “is the symbol of a special relationship with the Pope and expresses, moreover, the power, that, in communion with the Church of Rome, the metropolitan acquires by right in his own jurisdiction” (The Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Roman Pontiff, “The Use of the Pallium,” (2020), ).

Here we recall that the Bishops of the Church are successors of the college of Apostles and that the direct successor of Saint Peter is the Bishop of Rome. The Bishops of the Church exercise their jurisdiction with and under the Bishop of Rome. What took place this past week was a visible manifestation of the unity of the Catholic Church and an expression of the pastoral solicitude of the Bishop of Rome for the people of the Archdiocese and Province of Saint Louis.

As a successor to the College of the Apostles, the Bishops of the Church are entrusted with the proclamation of the Good News of Christ. They are true Pastors of the Church who are given the solemn responsibility of teaching the faith of Christ, offering worship to God, and governing the portion of the People of God entrusted to them. As Archbishop Rozanski takes up his pastoral responsibilities here, let us pray for him that the Lord God will strengthen him in his proclamation of the Gospel.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 23, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

The Solemnity of Saint Louis IX, King of France
The feast day of Saint Louis is on Tuesday, August 25. Given that he is the Patron of the City and County of Saint Louis, not to mention the principal Patron of this Archdiocese, his feast day is being celebrated here as a Solemnity and on this Sunday, August 23.

When it was founded in the year 1764, Pierre Laclède Liguest named what was then a trading post in honor of Saint Louis IX (25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270), the French king known for his faith in God and devotion to his family. Growing up, Louis was influenced especially by the example of his mother, Blanche of Castile, and was tutored by the Reverend Father Vincent de Beauvais, a Dominican friar at the Royaumont Abbey, just north of Paris.

As king, Louis IX was known for his commitment to the Church, to the administration of justice, and to those in need. Louis IX is known for having obtained the Relic of the Crown of Thorns and having La Sainte Chapelle built to enshrine it. He is known for his having served as an impartial arbitrator in his kingdom, for which reason he was sought out for his administration of fair and impartial justice. He is known, as well, for his commitment to providing food for the poor and caring for those suffering from leprosy. Indeed, he founded many hospitals and houses for the sick.

On this Solemnity, let us pray that, through the intercession of Saint Louis, we ourselves will be inspired to follow Christ more closely and be all the more committed to being of active charity toward others, especially those who are in need.

Retirement of Archbishop Carlson and installation of Archbishop Rozanski
This Tuesday, August 25, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Archbishop Mitch- ell Rozanski will be installed at the new Archbishop of Saint Louis.

As we prepare for this transition, let us pray in thanksgiving to God for the many years of apostolic ministry of Archbishop Robert Carlson. This year, Archbishop Carlson recently celebrated 50 years as a Priest and will be celebrating 38 years as a Bishop, 11 of which have been as Archbishop of Saint Louis. In these final days of his service as Apostolic Administrator, we pray to the Lord Jesus that He will bless him as he enters into retirement.

Let us also pray in thanksgiving to God for the appointment of Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski as the new Archbishop of Saint Louis. This year, Archbishop Rozanski will be celebrating 36 years as a Priest and 16 years as a Bishop. As he makes his proximate preparations for his installation this week, we pray that the Lord Jesus will bless him as he takes up his new responsibilities as Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese.

In Christ,
Father Bené