St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – December 8, 2019

Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12

“Hear me, my littlest one. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance… Am I not your mother? Are you not under the protection of my mantle?” ~Our Lady to Saint Juan Diego

“In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.” ~John Paul II

How well Mary’s own words describe Juan Diego: “God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). Through him, for the diverse peoples of the Americas, indigenous and immigrant, the Mother of God became known as their Mother, too. Cuauhtlatzin, his given name, means “One Who Speaks Like an Eagle,” and Juan Diego faithfully delivered the Virgin’s request that a church be built at Tepeyac where she had appeared to him. To the skeptical bishop’s request for a sign, Our Lady showed Juan Diego roses blooming through stony ground, despite winter’s cold. When he unfolded his tilma to present them to the bishop, imprinted there was Mary’s image! Her blue sash and the flower over her womb were traditional Aztec symbols of pregnancy and new life. But her features were those of a mestiza, indicating mixed Aztec-European heritage. Thus to peoples too easily prone to a “clash of cultures,” Our Lady of Guadalupe remains the enduring icon of unity-in-diversity, the fruit of our one baptism into Jesus, her Son. ~Peter Scagnelli, © J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – December 1, 2019

Dear friends,

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent and so begin our journey to the celebration of the Solemnity of Christmas.

Interestingly enough, the first use of the English word “advent” was in the year 1742 and meant “important arrival” (“advent,” Online Etymology Dictionary). This definition, “important arrival,” beautifully gets at the heart of the meaning of the season, as its purpose is to help us prepare spiritually for the important arrival of Christ.

The season of Advent invites us to reflect upon the fact that Christ came among us in history a little over two thousand years ago, that He remains with us now especially through His Church and the Sacraments, above all in the Holy Eucharist, and that He will one day come again in glory, the day nor the hour we do not know.

During the four weeks of Advent, we are invited to reflect prayerfully on our lives at the present time and ask ourselves where we would like to be by the time Christmas arrives. There are many opportunities to draw closer to the Lord Jesus at this time. Here I think of devoting ourselves more fully to daily prayer, participation in daily Mass, visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and extending ourselves more fully to others.

The Lord Jesus wants all of us to enter more fully into His life. My hope and prayer is that each of us comes to a greater acceptance of His invitation, so that by Christmas we will have a greater appreciation of the fact that God is with us through His Son who brings us His life.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 24, 2019

Dear friends,

This Thursday we commemorate the civic holiday of Thanksgiving and so give thanks to God for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We call to mind His gifts of love which are countless and His goodness which is infinite.

As those who live in this country, we continue this important annual tradition dating back to the year 1621 when the 50 Pilgrims celebrated a three day harvest festival with 90 members of the Wampanoag Indian tribe. Edward Winslow, one of the senior leaders of the Plymouth Colony who was present for the event, described it thus:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation…. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty (Mourt’s Relation, by Henry Martyn Dexter [1865]).

We thank God for His kindness and ask Him to open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child. Here I think of anyone who may feel lonely or excluded at this time of the year.

God has entrusted to us the great gift of freedom, a gift that calls forth responsibility and commitment to the truth that all have a fundamental dignity before Him. We therefore ask Him to help us reach out in love to all His people.

May the Lord Jesus bless you and your loved ones in a special way, and may you always know His love and peace and joy.

In Christ,
Father Bené