St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

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


Have you done your taxes yet? I haven’t, and it is one of those things that I know doesn’t take that long, and I usually have enough withheld so I do get a bit back each year (so I have incentive to get it done), but I still haven’t found the time to get out all of the papers and load the software on my computer and actually do my taxes.

Since it is also the season of Lent I will ask a slightly different question, have you gone to Confession yet? I’m making the comparison because for many people it is something that they do periodically, maybe once, or twice, or four times a year. (Like paying your taxes quarterly I guess.) And also like your taxes you need to take the time first to review your life, seeing what needs to be reported or not. Fortunately we don’t have anything as complicated as the tax code that we have to consider. An examination of conscience, such as one based on the 10 commandments, can help to consider what are the sins I have done that I need to ask forgiveness for. Here is a short one that might help: (others at

I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me. Have I treated people, events, or things as more important than God?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation (Jan. 1; the Ascension; Aug. 15; Nov. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 25)? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord’s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
Honor your father and your mother. Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain good communication with my parents where possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?
You shall not kill. Have I harmed another through physical, verbal, or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?
You shall not commit adultery. Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
You shall not steal. Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Have I gos-siped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse. Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?

Just a little reminder and help to be open to all the graces God wishes to give us.

Fr. Nick


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


As we get into Lent one of the things that can often be a question is how we are approaching it, that we do something or give up something? Sometimes the same action can be described either way – You shall not lie – Always say the truth – but even in this we realize the positive means might be asking just a little more of us. And I think we need to be aware of that in this Lenten Season.

Consider what you are doing in both ways. Maybe you keep the promise of not eating candy or some other snack, in addition you might decide to try and eat something instead you really don’t want to but you’ve heard might be good for you and so you will at least give it a try. Or maybe you are determined to not say anything bad about someone who really gets on your nerves regularly, maybe try to also say something nice.

A challenge here is that we are always called to avoid evil and so hopefully we work at that diligently. But we know there are so many needs and causes out there that we can’t do every good, so we can lose focus of doing any. But we need to realize that it isn’t just a bonus to do good, but it is necessary.

We look at the lists of the 10 Commandments and most of the laws on how to live in Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers, and we realize the vast majority seem negative, about the things we shouldn’t do or punishments if we do certain things. And we need to observe those, to avoid sin. But at the same time God doesn’t want us to spend our lives just avoiding sin. We realize he gave us the two commandments, love God and love your neighbor (also in a form in the OT, Lev 19:18) When he talks to the man who asks what they should do and they are following all the commandments, he says give up all, then follow me (MT 19:16-22). When he separates the sheep from the goats (MT 25:31-46) the one set being condemned hasn’t done anything wrong, but they haven’t helped anyone either, they haven’t shown love.

As we go through Lent we often think about overcoming a bad habit, getting rid of a vice, focusing on sin. But it can also be an opportunity to develop a good habit, a virtue, to consider love. This Lent consider how we can not only avoid evil, but also do good.

Fr. Nick

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


Praying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays is a tradition that used to be quite common, especially during the season of Lent, and maybe can be again. The tradition is said to have started with Mary visiting the places where Jesus suffered and died. Once Christianity could be practiced openly and legally in 312 it soon became a common pilgrimage for people to walk in the steps Jesus did, following the “via Dolorosa” (Sorrowful Way) or the Way of the Cross. The term ‘stations’ only began to be used much later and is credited to William Wey who visited the Holy Land in 1462, a time when the devotion was gaining in popularity.

This devotion grew throughout the centuries and by the fifth century, reproductions of some of these places were made in other places where more people could then participate in this devotion. Through the years it would not only be the distance of travel that made it difficult for pilgrims to visit the Holy Land and these sites but also depending upon whether the ruling nation at the time was accepting of Christians. In the 1400’s-1700’s this devotion grew largely due to the Franciscan’s, who had been entrusted with care for the holy sites in the Holy Land in 1342 and also promoted this devotion throughout the world. In 1686 Pope Innocent XI allowed the Franciscans to erect stations in all of their churches with Pope Benedict XIII extending this privilege to all the faithful in 1726.

This could be a little confusing as up to that point the number of stations varied from 5 up to 37. To standardize this practice Pope Clement XII would officially set the number of stations at 14 in 1731 when he would permit the Stations of the Cross to be erected in all churches. Only 11 years later this would go from permission to erect them to encouraging it by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742. These stations could range from the most ornate paintings or statues for each station to small simple crosses with the numbers from 1-14 under them throughout a church.

The prayers themselves that people pray as walking from one station to the other may vary. There are many popular texts that can be used, often having different Scriptural passages to reflect on at each station. A common practice in recent times is that an unofficial ‘15th station’ is added referring to Christ’s Resurrection. When we pray them in our church this results with the leader standing at the tabernacle after the 14th station where we can truly recognize Christ risen in His presence in the Eucharist.

Whether using a standard set of prayers and praying these together as a group (Friday nights at 7 pm in St. Joseph Church during Lent) or simply spending some time quietly reflecting on each station this can be a very good spiritual practice, especially during our Lenten journey as we prepare for Christ’s Resurrection at Easter.

Fr. Nick