St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 24, 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 beloved father

The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation”.[7]

Saint Paul VI pointed out that Joseph concretely expressed his fatherhood “by making his life a sacrificial service to the mystery of the incarnation and its redemptive purpose. He employed his legal authority over the Holy Family to devote himself completely to them in his life and work. He turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home”.[8]

Thanks to his role in salvation history, Saint Joseph has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people. This is shown Institutes, Confraternities and ecclesial groups inspired by his spirituality and bearing his name, and the many traditional expressions of piety in his honor. Innumerable holy men and women were passionately devoted to him. Among them was Teresa of Avila, who chose him as her advocate and intercessor, had frequent recourse to him and received whatever graces she asked of him. Encouraged by her own experience, Teresa persuaded others to cultivate devotion to Joseph.[9]

Every prayer book contains prayers to Saint Joseph. Special prayers are offered to him each Wednesday and especially during the month of March, which is traditionally dedicated to him.[10]

Popular trust in Saint Joseph is seen in the expression “Go to Joseph”, which evokes the famine in Egypt, when the Egyptians begged Pharaoh for bread. He in turn replied: “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do” (Gen 41:55). Pharaoh was referring to Joseph the son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery because of the jealousy of his brothers (cf. Gen 37:11-28) and who – according to the biblical account – subsequently became viceroy of Egypt (cf. Gen 41:41-44).

As a descendant of David (cf. Mt 1:16-20), from whose stock Jesus was to spring according to the promise made to David by the prophet Nathan (cf. 2 Sam 7), and as the spouse of Mary of Nazareth, Saint Joseph stands at the crossroads between the Old and New Testaments.
[7] In Matthaeum Homiliae, V, 3: PG 57, 58.
[8] Homily (19 March 1966): Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, IV (1966), 110.
[9] Cf. Autobiography, 6, 6-8.
[10] Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds I have recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. It expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph: “Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serious and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome. My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.”

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 17, 2021

Dear friends,

In the parish bulletin last weekend I drew your attention to the Apostolic Letter recently promulgated by our Holy Father Pope Francis entitled Patris corde, or With a Father’s Heart, on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. In his Apostolic Letter, our Holy Father shares some personal reflections on the Saint Joseph who is “so close to our own human experience” and focuses on seven themes which will be reprinted over the course of the next several weeks beginning with today. My hope is that we will all find in these words of our Holy Father inspiration to imitate Saint Joseph in his fidelity to Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

In Christ,
Father Bené

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

WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph”.[1]

Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.

We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a “just man” (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20;2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.

Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). As we know, for ancient peoples, to give a name to a person or to a thing, as Adam did in the account in the Book of Genesis (cf. 2:19-20), was to establish a relationship.

In the Temple, forty days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary offered their child to the Lord and listened with amazement to Simeon’s prophecy concerning Jesus and his Mother (cf. Lk 2:22-35). To protect Jesus from Herod, Joseph dwelt as a foreigner in Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-18). After returning to his own country, he led a hidden life in the tiny and obscure village of Nazareth in Galilee, far from Bethlehem, his ancestral town, and from Jerusalem and the Temple. Of Nazareth it was said, “No prophet is to rise” (cf. Jn 7:52) and indeed, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (cf. Jn 1:46). When, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary lost track of the twelve-year-old Jesus, they anxiously sought him out and they found him in the Temple, in discussion with the doctors of the Law (cf. Lk 2:41-50).

After Mary, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in the papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse. My Predecessors reflected on the message contained in the limited information handed down by the Gospels in order to appreciate more fully his central role in the history of salvation. Blessed Pius IX declared him “Patron of the Catholic Church”,[2] Venerable Pius XII proposed him as “Patron of Workers”[3] and Saint John Paul II as “Guardian of the Redeemer”.[4] Saint Joseph is universally invoked as the “patron of a happy death”.[5]

Now, one hundred and fifty years after his proclamation as Patron of the Catholic Church by Blessed Pius IX (8 December 1870), I would like to share some personal reflections on this extraordinary figure, so close to our own human experience. For, as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34). My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how “our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone… How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all”.[6] Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and
of gratitude is due to them all.

[1] Lk 4:22; Jn 6:42; cf. Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3.
[2] S. RITUUM CONGREGATIO, Quemadmodum Deus (8 December 1870): ASS 6 (1870-71), 194.
[3] Cf. Address to ACLI on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker (1 May 1955): AAS 47 (1955), 406.
[4] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos (15 August 1989): AAS 82 (1990), 5-34.
[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1014.
[6] Meditation in the Time of Pandemic (27 March 2020): L’Osservatore Romano, 29 March 2020, p. 10.

Photos by Father Bené – January 2021

This gallery contains 6 photos

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 10, 2021

Dear friends,

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

This Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Baptism of the Lord and so calls to mind His baptism in the Jordan River by Saint John the Baptist. By undergoing baptism, Jesus identified with all of us and made baptism the Sacrament by which our sins our forgiven us, we are made adopted sons and daughters of God, and made members of His holy Church. As we celebrate this feast day, let us entrust ourselves more fully to Him who gives us access to eternal life.

The Year of Saint Joseph

Recently our Holy Father Pope Francis proclaimed this year to be the Year of Saint Joseph in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Blessed Pius IX’s declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. In his Apostolic Letter announcing this celebration, Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, and a father in the shadows in that he is “the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father….” (Patris corde, 7).

As part of the Year of Saint Joseph, a plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the intentions of the Holy Father) to the faithful who, with a spirit detached from any sin, (1) meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer, or who participate in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on Saint Joseph; (2) to those who, following the example of Saint Joseph, perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy; (3) to families who recite the Holy Rosary and to bride and groom who do likewise; (4) to all those who entrust their work daily to the protection of Saint Joseph and all believers who invoke with their prayers the intercession of the worker of Nazareth; or (5) to the faithful who pray the litany of Saint Joseph (for the Latin tradition), or the Akathistos to Saint Joseph, in its entirety or at least part of it (for the Byzantine tradition), or some other prayer to Saint Joseph, typical of the other liturgical traditions, in favor of the Church persecuted ad intra and ad extra and for the relief of all Christians who suffer all forms of persecution (cf., Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary [December 8, 2020]).

Pope Francis provides us in his Apostolic Letter the following prayer invoking Saint Joseph’s intercession: 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.

Saturday evening Mass to move to 4:30 p.m. beginning on Saturday, February 6

For the past several months there has been discussion regarding moving the Sunday anticipatory Mass from Saturday at 5:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The main reason is that it may make it easier for those who do not like to drive at night. Indeed, 4:30 p.m. has become a preferred time for Saturday afternoon Mass in many parishes in the Archdiocese. With support of the parish pastoral council, the decision has been taken for the Sunday anticipatory Mass to be celebrated at 4:30 p.m. beginning on Saturday, February 6.

Expressions of gratitude

May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in any way in the preparations for and in the liturgical celebrations of the Christmas season. Many parishioners and visitors have remarked how pleased they have been with the Christmas decorations and the sacred music.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – January 3, 2021

Giving Homage
In our minds, it is easy to mix up bits and pieces from Luke’s account of the shepherds coming to see Jesus in the stable and the story of the magi. Clearly, it has taken the magi time to get here, and the reading speaks of them coming to the house where the star led them. Nevertheless, they “prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures . . .” How do we do this? Do we continue looking for Jesus, even if takes a while and he is not where we expect to see him? Are we paying attention to the signs showing us the way? What gifts do we have with which to pay him homage? After seeing him, the Magi were warned in a dream not to go back the way they came. But if we have seen the Christ child, how can we go back to where we were? We must continue to respond to God’s call to move forward and grow in our lives. We must seek the right and just path and turn away from the “Herods” and inherent evils in our life. Nutshell: Seek God. Pay homage. Amen.

© J. S. Paluch Co., Inc

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

We Are God’s Holy Family
The scriptures of Israel are filled with many stories of barren couples who were miraculously granted the gift of children by God. Surely the best known among these is the first reading from today, from which Luke took inspiration when he recounted the miraculous birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and the more miraculous birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph. In each instance, we are given examples or role models of those who trusted in God. More than examples of those who trust, they are models of self-surrender. They abandoned their own presuppositions and prejudices about the workings of the world and turned their lives over to belief in a God who can make life grow where none ought to; a God who can turn death around into a new and unimagined life; a God who can, today, take a tiny child of humble parents in an insignificant town and make him into a light for all the world. This is what we, as God’s holy family, are called to do each day: to trust not in ourselves and the way we think things should be, but to open ourselves and surrender ourselves in faith to a God of endless promise.

Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co

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

Dear friends,

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent and so call to mind the events leading  up to the Birth of Christ. Indeed, in the Gospel reading for Mass we are presented with the account of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary when Our Lady was asked to become the mother of the Son of God. As we make our proximate preparation for the upcoming celebration of Christmas, let us entrust ourselves more fully to Christ as did Mary who was always open and receptive to the will of God in her own life.

Solemnity of Christmas

This coming Friday, December 25, is the Solemnity of Christmas. On this day, the Church throughout the world celebrates the Mystery of the Incarnation when in the fullness of time the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Son of God, became one with us in our humanity by becoming man and so uniting Himself with every person of every time and place. Because of this event in salvation history,  we ourselves have access to the life in which He shares with His Father and the Holy Spirit. On this most holy day, we give thanks and praise to God for giving us His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we can share in His life forever.

The Masses of Christmas Eve will be celebrated on Thursday, December 24, at 4:00 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. and the Masses of Christmas Day will be celebrated on Friday, December 25, at 9:00 a.m. and at 11:00 a.m. At this special time of the year, let us pray for all people that they will know the love that God has for them and experience His grace so that all might be saved and experience eternal life.

In Christ,
Father Bené

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Advent Lessons and Carols Service – December 11, 2020

An hour of Advent themed scripture readings and choral pieces during Eucharistic Adoration.

Worship Program

Presider: Reverend Philip Bene’

Readers: Stephen Fahrig, S.T.D., David Farel, Don Gayou, Tim O’Connor

Music: The Polyhymnia women’s choir was founded in 2020 and performs in the St. Louis Archdiocese: Kate Angrli , Hannah Chauvin, Stephanie Crawford, Ine’s de Erausquin M.M., Elena Arrendondo Farel Ph.D candidate, Cathy Saccente M.M.

Oganist and Director: Nori Fahrig M.M.

Organ Scholar: Elaine Simeri

Video Producer: Cheryl Verde