St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 17, 2019


I guess I’m showing my age a little when I mention that I remember when we celebrated George Washington’s Birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Looking it up I found out that it really only slowly became President’s Day after they had shifted the celebration of Washington’s birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday of February beginning in 1971 due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Basically this act was meant to make federal holidays go to three day weekends instead of keeping the date and letting the day of the week it fell on fluctuate from year to year. The fact that Lincoln’s birthday is February 12th and so now this holiday would be between the two is one reason it began to be referred to as President’s Day instead of just Washington’s Birthday, another one is that businesses started advertising sales that way.

I have to admit that the Church has done similar things, moving some feast days from their date to the closest Sunday. Other holy days of obligation they have declared not holy days of obligation if they fall on a Monday or a Saturday. These can make life easier, not having those extra days that we are obligated to go to Mass, but we have to recognize that it does also diminish them. The Feast of the Ascension seems to get a lot less respect then it did when we celebrated Ascension Thursday. It doesn’t have to, but for most of us it naturally does.

Decreasing the significance of something in our lives, especially when it has to do with our faith, can be risky. It is easy to become just a little less holy than we used to be. But we also have to realize that there are some days that we have not changed like this. Christmas is still Dec. 25th, and Easter is still the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, I won’t go into the details of that but it manages to move Easter from March 22nd through April 25th. I think it would be much easier to just have the first Sunday of April or something like that, but we don’t, and I think that’s good.

The Feast of the Ascension is important and should be celebrated, but we realize it really doesn’t compare with Easter and Christmas. Having this difference in the respect or priority we give these different days is good, and hopefully we reflect that in our thoughts and actions too. When doing this we realize we have the easy option at times which is to simply decrease how we treat the day that has been moved, or we might recognize how this makes the exception for Christmas and Easter even more special and raise our treatment of them. This is up to us. When I was young almost all stores were closed on Sundays and you had to live your life accordingly. Now it is easy to get upset when anything isn’t open at all hours every day including Sunday. Whether this means we keep Sunday more holy or not is up to us. It was definitely more distinct of a day years ago, but that doesn’t mean we kept it as a day of rest or dedicated to God.

With President’s Day we now really don’t have only the day, but we have the whole extended weekend. Maybe we can treat more days, or all days, in a more holy manner?

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 10, 2019


This weekend was our annual parish trivia night, I hope many of you were able to participate and enjoy the evening. I know Joe and Carolynn Dickmann, who make up the questions for and run our trivia night, always make it a fun evening. I’ve been going to trivia nights for almost 30 years now and I think I like them because if you have the answer to a question, especially if it is really a bizarre fact, you feel smart. But if you don’t know the answer, it is trivia and everyone doesn’t need to know who the loosing team from the first Super Bowl was anyways? (By the way, the Green Bay Packers were the winners.)

The best trivia teams will actually have three characteristics to them 1) you have people who are different from each other and so know different things; 2) you have good food and beverages at the table for everyone for the evening; and 3) everyone has a similar attitude as far as how serious you are taking this and what your expectations are.

Now consider if instead of trivia we were discussing blessings people have, or good works people do. 1) We can’t have all the blessings, we can’t do all the good works needed, but we need to appreciate and recognize the many different ones others have and do. 2) We need to be able to come together to share food and beverages at times and realize it isn’t just about doing the work or having the blessings, but it is also about time with others. And 3) If Mother Teresa was at my table I might feel useless but if it is people I can compare to in some way I can be encouraged and challenged. And if Mother Teresa was at another table I know I don’t have to win, but can also be somewhat inspired by knowing what is possible.

Hopefully whether it is at trivia nights or whatever the situation we find means to support, encourage, appreciate and celebrate with one another through the varied challenges of our lives.

Fr. Nick

Parish Finances: If you look at our weekly Sunday Offerings regularly you would have noticed that up to Christmas our Year-to-Date offerings had been above our budgeted amount, but that since Christmas it went significantly below. This is due to previous years seeing a very significant bump in donations over Christmas that was not nearly as big this year. I could speculate that this was due to the huge stock market drop just before Christmas, or new tax laws affecting end of year giving, but I don’t really know. We have also kept our total ordinary expenses significantly below budget so we are still operating in the black (or with a surplus) this year and we recently received a gift that significantly decreased the deficit you have been seeing in our Actual vs. Budgeted Offertory but I wanted to give you a little more information about the numbers you see in the bulletin.