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 19, 2018


We just loaded a truck with all of the backpacks that are going for the start of the school year to St. Augustine Wellston Center, we had 54 of them. This is something our parish and many others have been doing for years and a great way to help kids and their families in need to start a new school year, but the group that we used to give the backpacks to and who distributed them discontinued this practice, yet many of you were still interested in helping others in this way. So with just a few phone calls our parish secretary, Pat, set up a new means to continue this practice from our end and to get the backpacks to kids who need them.

I want to thank everyone who donated backpacks, but also those who talked to us asking about it, letting us know that this was a means of charity that we wanted to continue. In this case it was a practice many parishioners were already in the habit of, had decided this was a good means to help others, and continuing the practice was very easy, compared to having to start something new. But it is also understandable that St. Patrick Center, who used to coordinate their distribution, realized this wasn’t something they could continue. This was a good reminder that we weren’t doing this on our own. Too often we can just take for granted what others are doing and just focus on what we have done or what we want to do, but we need to remember that all we do is in a community and involved with others.

If you like to grow zucchini and so you plant a big garden, that doesn’t do much good if you don’t have a use for them come harvest time. Hopefully we take the opportunity at times to realize all those involved in all the things we do, especially in our charitable works. Is the need still the same? Who helps in this process and is it really getting to who needs it? To appreciate all that others are also doing, and maybe to consider if we are being called to be a part of another or different role in something we are already involved in? Or to start something new?

This weekend Fr. Timothy Kenney, SM will be telling us about the missionary work of the Marianists and asking for support to continue their educational ministries in Africa and India. As a school year starts let us be open to be inspired to hear how we may be a part of another means of helping one another to develop God’s gifts in themselves, and to become more fully God’s people here on earth.

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 12, 2018

Wednesday, August 15th Masses on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary

6:30 am; 8:00 am; noon; and 5:30 pm


This week, on August 11th, we celebrated the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. She is the one who lived down the street from St. Francis. Actually, if you visit Assisi you will see at the one end of town, on the hill where Assisi is located, is the Franciscan monastery at one end of town. Towards the other end of town is the convent of the Poor Clares. She lived from 1195-1253, that compares to Francis living from 1181-1226, and she first heard Francis preaching when she was 18. Now the fact that she was 18 and not married yet shows that even before hearing Francis she was likely considering a religious life, as it would have been common for her family to have her married around the age of 14. She is described as having been heavily pressured by her parents and family to marry a certain man in the year following when she first heard Francis, but her mind was made up and about a year after first hearing Francis she would go to him and ask to be accepted to forsake all her possessions and become a nun.

She would first reside at a Benedictine convent where her family would find her and attempt to take her back home, unsuccessfully. Francis moved her to a different convent and one of her younger sisters, Agnes, would actually go there not to take her back home, but to join her there. Eventually they would be placed in a house on the outskirts of Assisi and a few other women would also join them, Francis appointing Clare as the superior of their group.

Clare desired that they have very close ties to the friars and strive to follow their way of life, but there would be exceptions. The Franciscans would own nothing, not wanting that security of possessions or of land that would provide them income, but were to rely on daily contributions for their existence. While Clare desired to live in a similar manner, Francis was opposed to accepting money as a donation, but rather it had to be material goods, whereas Clare considered money could be accepted, used for what it was needed, and given to the poor otherwise.

She was the first woman to write a Rule by which her order would eventually live. To start, the pope attempted to modify or soften some of the restrictions in her rule, but she denied these and it was eventually approved. But it should also be noted that while Clare and her community did practice some extreme austerities, she also recognized there were limits as was evidenced by a letter she wrote to another convent warning a nun against ‘excessively strict abstinence’.

Today in St. Louis we have the Monastery of Saint Clare of the Immaculate Conception which is located off of Telegraph Rd. in Oakville. The charism of the Poor Clares is stated as follows: “To observe the poverty and humility of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother, living the Gospel life as followers of St. Clare and St. Francis, in contemplative community of charity and unity within the enclosure.” It was considered a radical lifestyle at the time, as it still is today, and we are grateful for this incredible example of faith, and a service of prayer.

Fr. Nick

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 5, 2018


Yesterday, August 4th, we celebrated the feast day of St. John Vianney (1786-1859), the patron saint of parish priests. It should first be noted that his very early days were not exactly the most favorable time to be growing up Catholic, as the French Revolution began when he was only three and for most of his youth, until he was about thirteen, his family and others would have to practice their faith in secret. He grew up learning to help on his father’s farm and didn’t have the time or money to be able to get an education. Always wanting to be a priest he finally left for the neighboring village where the pastor ran a ‘presbytery-school’ when he was 20.

Always remembered as being a very poor student he was especially noted as having difficulty with Latin. Unfortunately, at the time, this was the language all instruction would be given in once he made it to the major seminary and so it would be questioned whether he could continue or not. Eventually he would make it through. It was realized that he was very academically challenged, but he was also considered to be very devout, and so he was approved for ordination. Once ordained he was assigned to assist at a parish and would be noted as a popular confessor from the beginning.

After being ordained only about two years the parish of Ars-en-Dombes became vacant. It was described as a place they would send an ill-educated priest who wasn’t very motivated but would be trusted to have a few straightforward and safe sermons he could preach. Basically where nothing much was expected and it was considered not much harm could be done, and Vianney was considered a perfect candidate. But they were mistaken about the effort that he would put forth in fulfilling his ministry. Not resigned to do the minimal he would visit every household, set up classes for children, and particularly set an austere, devout, and disciplined example for the people. Slowly making this little town, that was dismissed an example of how people could truly live a religious life.

Over the years he would become particularly known for spending hours on end hearing people’s confessions every day. All types of people would make a journey by rail to specifically come to Ars to go to Vianney for confession. And while his popularity and effect on people through the sacrament of confession should not be minimized, it has also been considered that many of the people who came may have been there not simply for Fr. Vianney, but to see a parish of practicing Catholics in mid-nineteenth-century France.

I hope you can see why he is the patron saint of parish priests, but also why he appropriately is most often referred to as the Cure of Ars, since we should not just remember the saint, but the also the parish that also provided the example for others in their day.

Fr. Nick