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 23, 2022

Dear friends,

Recently the parish received a marble and bronze baptismal font and carved limestone statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. These come from Saints Mary and Joseph Church in Carondelet whose parish was closed many years ago and merged with another parish. Recently the church building was sold but before this took place all the liturgical items were removed for use in other Catholic churches. When I learned of this, I approached our parish pastoral council which sup-ported the idea of obtaining certain items from it. Gratefully, we were able to receive the baptismal font, bronze baptistery gates, the limestone statues of Mary and Saint Joseph, and sanctuary chairs, all of which dating from the 1930s are accordingly more consonant with the interior style of Saint Joseph Church.

Minor repair and cleaning of the limestone statues of Mary and Joseph are underway. Once they are ready, they will be placed on matching limestone pedestals in the sanctuary. The statue of Mary will be placed on the left of the sanctuary near the side door and the statue of Saint Joseph will be placed on the right of the sanctuary. This is where the former statues were originally placed and this mirrors the way the Crucifixion scene behind the altar is arranged as the statue of Mary is on the left of the Crucifix. The present plaster statue of Mary will be relocated to the votive candle chapel and will be placed near the matching plaster statue of Saint Joseph which had been relocated there many years ago. The statue of Saint Joseph on the wall in the sanctuary will be relocated to the second floor of the school.

Originally the baptistery in our church was located where one of the confessionals is in the back of church. This confessional, which is near the entrance to the choir loft, contains a stained glass window depicting the baptism of Jesus by Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Because only one of the confessionals is normally used, because this is the original place of the baptistery, and because of the fact that the baptismal font would otherwise obscure the statue of Mary in the sanctuary, the decision was taken to restore the baptistery. The font will then be moved to the baptistery and the bronze gates will be placed at its entrance. The wooden statue of Saint Martin will be placed where the wooden statue of Saint Joseph is and the wooden statue of Saint Joseph will be relocated to a prominent place in the school. As this work is being done I truly appreciate your patience.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – January 16, 2022

Revelation of God’s Presence

Today’s first reading from Isaiah arises out of the ordeal of the people of Jerusalem and Judea as they anticipate the end of seventy years of exile in Babylon. Their sufferings and their oppression will end, and they are promised joy like that of a great wedding upon returning to their homeland. Although this passage is probably set in the early sixth century B.C., it is free of historical particulars. Accordingly, the Church has understood its imagery universally, as it proclaims God’s promise of healing, hope, and happiness for all peoples, in this world and in the next. When read against this background, the story of Jesus’ turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana becomes a revelation of God’s presence in the person of Jesus, making these promises real for us in the here and now, in the transformation of our own lives.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – January 9, 2022

Baptismal Death and Resurrection

As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, we also honor our own baptism as our initiation into the Christian life and community. In the Gospel, the baptism of Jesus, with his immersion and then emergence from the water, points to his later submission to God at his death, and his emergence from the grave at his resurrection. This pattern of death and resurrection is our path too, as followers of Jesus. Throughout life, often in small ways, we learn to surrender our limited and self-centered agendas. This surrender often feels like death. The sacrament of Baptism ritually enacts this pattern to remind us of Jesus’ death and resurrection, so that we too might embrace the deaths and resurrections of our own lives. As Jesus emerged from the water, he encountered his Father and the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus, we can know we are God’s beloved, empowered by the Spirit.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – January 2, 2022

Dear friends,

Saturday, January 1, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is fitting that the beginning of each New Year is dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world and to His Mother, Mary, the Queen of All Saints. January 1 is also the annual World Day of Peace. In his Message for this day, our Holy Father Pope Francis draws attention to the fact that dialogue between generations, education, and labor are three paths for building a lasting peace in our world. On this day let us pray that all will work together to bring about the realization of these paths for the creation of a social covenant respectful of the inherent dignity of the human person and thus the protection and promotion of the com-mon good of all people.

This Sunday, January 2, the Church in the United States celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. On this feast day, we commemorate the manifestation of the Lord Jesus to all people. Here we recall the visit of the Wise Men, Magi, or Kings, to the Christ Child and their offering of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Him. On this day, let us pray “that we may perceive with clear sight and revere with true affection that mystery” (Roman Missal) in which the Lord God has willed us to participate, namely, the mystery of God made man.

Lastly, may I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the preparations for the celebration of the season of Christmas and all those who have taken part in the liturgical celebrations. Let us pray that we will all be drawn more closely to Christ and that we will extend His love and mercy to others.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – December 26, 2021

Dear friends,

This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christmas and so calls to mind the birth of the Son of God according to the flesh. As we profess every Sunday in the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed, “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” Throughout the season of Christmas we prayerfully reflect upon the Mystery of the Incarnation, that is, “the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 461). Christmas is about the fact that God became man and that by this great gift we have access to the life He shares with His Father in the Spirit.

My prayer for you and your loved ones, especially at this time of the year, is that we will all come to a greater appreciation of the Birth of Christ, accept more fully His love for us in our lives, and extend this love to others, especially those in need. God bless you in this holy season and always.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – December 19, 2021


There is a spirit of audacity in our readings today. During a time of injustice and threat of invasion, the prophet Micah boldly announces that the God of insignificant Israel will raise up a leader from backwater Bethlehem, and this leader will bring justice and peace to the whole world. In the Gospel, Elizabeth and Mary, marginalized women, brazenly celebrate that their sons will be world-changing instruments of God. We further learn that this audacity is rooted in trust in God. The author of Hebrews describes the faithful obedience of Jesus. Mary is shown as the exemplar of faithful trust in God. This is the way God often seems to work, in the ordinary and marginalized in our world. Those who seem weak have learned to trust in God’s strength. These have the audacity to become instruments of God’s peace and justice.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – December 12, 2021

Dear friends,

I take this opportunity to thank all who volunteered last weekend for the Fall Cleanup. Gratefully, several parishioners came together to prune shrubs and clean up the leaves.

You may have noticed that a new stable has been constructed for the outdoor Christmas manger. Gratitude goes to Mike Capelli, a retired Clayton police detective, and Steve Topping, our maintenance director, for building the stable.

This year’s featured speaker at the Advent by Candlelight will be the Reverend Father Edward Ruane, O.P. Father has many years of pastoral experience as a friar of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans. We warmly welcome him for this event. Our hope is that many parishioners will take advantage of the opportunity to join us for Advent by Candlelight which will be held on Thursday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m. Please see the bulletin for details.

As we continue making our way through the season of Advent, our hearts and minds turn to our continued spiritual preparations for Christmas. As we make our way along this journey, let us take time to prayerfully reflect on the importance of drawing closer to Christ and extending ourselves to others by our works of charity.

Lastly, let us pray for all students who will be returning from college or university in these coming days and for all travelers, for their safety and wellbeing.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – December 5, 2021

A Deep Change of Heart

When John proclaimed a baptism of repentance, as today’s Gospel relates, he called people to a deep change of heart. For John the Baptist, repentance was not simply regret for past failings, but a commitment to orient life around God’s desires and purposes. What might living in alignment with God’s desires look like? Our readings offer some clues. Baruch indicates that when mercy and justice are embraced like a royal garment, we may see the fruits of repentance. Paul notes how the Holy Spirit has been active within the church in Philippi, forming them to live in a loving and united community of faith, so they may witness to the love of God. And John himself suggests that a repentant heart clears a path for God to enter, leveling the mountains and valleys of our resistance, so that God might dwell within.

© J. S. Paluch Co

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – November 28, 2021

Dear parishioners,

As we enter upon the holy season of Advent, we are invited to reflect upon our own spiritual life and ask the Lord Jesus to enter more fully into our hearts so that we will be ready to welcome Him when He comes again in glory.

We are grateful to have numerous opportunities to pray and enter more deeply into our faith at this time of the year. Here I think of daily Mass, spending time before Our Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and reception of the
Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As we make our way through this season, I draw to your attention to the Mass schedule for Christmas. Please remember that Christmas presents us with a grace filled opportunity to encourage those who do not attend Mass to join us at church.

Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24
4:00 p.m. Mass
5:30 p.m. Mass

Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25
9:00 a.m. Mass
11:00 a.m. Mass
(no 4:30 p.m. Mass)

In this time of grace, please know of my prayer, and that of Father Mike Donald, for you and your loved ones. May the Lord Jesus bless you and your family in a special way as we anticipate the celebration of the Birth of the Savior.

In Christ,
Father Bené