St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 22, 2020

Dear friends,

Solemnity of Christ the King

As we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King this weekend, we celebrate the fact that the Lord Jesus is the way and the truth and the life for all people (cf., John 14:6). He alone gives us access to salvation, and He has made this possible by His Death on the Cross and Resurrection to new life. We have access to His life precisely by our faith in Him and reception of the Sacrament of Baptism which incorporates us into the life of the Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On this day, we pray that all will accept the Lordship of Jesus in their own personal lives, and further to this, we pray that by our words and by our actions, that is, by the witness of our lives, we will draw others to Him.

Thanksgiving Day

This Thursday, November 26, we commemorate Thanksgiving Day in the United States. As we do so, we give thanks to God for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us personally and as a country. We have been living in the midst of uncertainty and yet we know that the Lord Jesus is with us through it all. May He bless us in a special way on this day as we give thanks and praise to God for the gift of our faith.

New missals for church

I am pleased to inform you that as the season of Advent begins we will have new missals in the pews. No longer will we be using the previous seasonal paper-bound missalettes; instead, we will be using the permanent, hardcover enlarged-type Word of the Lord which contains the Order of Mass, the complete three-year Sunday Lectionary, and the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction. While the previous missalettes had to be replaced three times a year to keep current with the prayers and readings, the new hardbound Word of the Lord missals will only need to be replaced every few years. As you can imagine, this is ecologically friendly and will result in long-term financial savings. We will, of course, continue to use the preprinted worship aids for Sunday Mass. I hope that you like the new hardbound missal as much as I do.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 15, 2020

Dear friends,

As we continue making our way through the month of November, we pause next Saturday, November 21, to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here we recall her having been presented in the temple her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne, and thus call to mind Mary’s dedication of herself which she made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace.

We have a powerful intercessor in the person of the Mother of God. Rightly, therefore, do we regularly invoke her intercession, as we ask her to pray for us to God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Next Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. As we do so here at Saint Joseph Church, we warmly welcome Polyhymnia, a local women’s choir, which will sing on Sunday, November 22, at the 11:00 a.m. Mass. Music during the Mass will include works by the French composer Gabriel Fauré and the English composer Kenneth Leighton.

On a mundane level, I’d like you to know that roofing work will soon begin on the church belfry. There have been issues for many years with the roof in the top of the belfry and with the roof beneath the bells.

In Christ,
Father Bene

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 8, 2020

Expecting the Unexpected

If it ever crossed your mind that Jesus was somewhat lacking in a sense of humor, today’s Gospel should belie any such notion. Jesus’ story of the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids is downright hilarious. The circumstances of the story were surely familiar to Jesus’ listeners, just as they are—if we think about it—to us. Weddings never, ever start on time. There’s always a delay. Buttons pop off at the last minute. Flowers wilt. Cars full of wedding guests get caught in traffic. Soloists contract laryngitis. Brides or grooms or priests show up late! So the only reasonable way to approach a wedding is with a sense of humor, to realize that something probably will go awry, and, when that happens, to smile about it.

Jesus tells this funny story to encourage us to be watchful, yes; to be ready, yes. But he doesn’t tell it to make us dour and somber. The heavy-hearted tremble, waver, lose sight of their place and purpose, and fall asleep. The lighthearted know that the unexpected will happen—is bound to happen—so they are awake in their place and ready in their purpose when it comes.

© J. S. Paluch Co

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 1, 2020

Dear friends,

This Sunday, November 1, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. This feast day begins with the celebration of Vespers on the Eve of All Saints’ Day, traditionally referred to in English as All Hallows’ Eve. In the liturgical celebration of All Saints’ Day, we call to mind all the saints, both named and unnamed, in the life of the Church, recall their fidelity to Christ, and ask them to pray for us to God that we will be as faithful to Him as they were.

The following day, that is, on Monday, November 2, the Church celebrates the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, traditionally referred to as All Souls’ Day. In this liturgical celebration, we pray for all those who have gone before us in faith that they will be brought to share in the life of Christ forever. Here we call to mind the example of the Jewish priest Judas Maccabees who invited the people to pray for the dead that they might be freed from their sins:

Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin… He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin (2 Maccabees 12:42-46).

The month of November, especially All Souls’ Day, is a traditional time of year for visiting the graves of loved ones, as is the anniversary of their death. Accordingly, in these coming weeks we pray in a special way that all the members of Saint Joseph Parish who have gone before us, and especially our loved ones, will share forever in the life of Christ.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 25, 2020

Dear friends,

Those interested in becoming Catholic

I am pleased to inform you that we have resumed our Rite of Christian of Adults program as there are some in our community who would like to become members of the Catholic Church. Parishioners Stephen Fahrig, S.T.D., and Don Gayou, Ph.D., are joining with me in providing catechetical formation to them. The presentations are held every other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. beginning on November 3. If you know anyone interested in becoming Catholic, please have them contact me.

Upcoming presidential election

As followers of Christ, we have the responsibility to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel and this includes by engaging in the civil political process. As our Holy Father Pope Francis put it, as Catholics “we need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern” (Morning Meditation of His Holiness Pray for politicians that they govern us well, September 16, 2013).

Given the upcoming United States presidential election, I respectfully draw your attention to Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, a document on the political responsibility of Catholics which has been published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This publication can be found here in both English and Spanish:

We have the responsibility to elect political leaders who work to protect and promote all human rights, which Pope Saint John Paul II enumerated in his Encyclical Centesimus annus, 47, as
1. the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception
2. the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality
3. the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth
4. the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents
5. the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality
6. the right to religious freedom—the source and synthesis of all rights—understood as the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person

May those who elected to political office always work to protect and promote the common good of the people.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 18, 2020

In God Alone

Isaiah speaks to us today of Cyrus, King of Persia, anointed by the Lord. God calls Cyrus by name and leads him in service to the Israelites. In this passage we hear that it is the Lord who gives Cyrus his title, who arms him against his enemies, and who opens doors and unbars gates before him. And God does all of this so that the people will know that “I am the LORD,” and that “there is none besides me” (Isaiah 45:6).

Paul opens his letter with essentially the same notion—that in God alone we find our grace and peace. Paul also gives thanks to God on our behalf, calling to mind our work of faith, hope, and love. And in the familiar Gospel reading, Jesus tells the Pharisees to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 11, 2020

Dear friends,

This week the Church honors two saints, in particular: Saint Teresa of Ávila on October 15 and Saint Ignatius of Antioch on October 17.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

Saint Teresa (1515-1582) was a Spanish noblewoman who became a Carmelite nun and devoted herself, above all, to prayer and to action. She was known for the contemplative life she lived and for reforming the Carmelites Orders of men and women. She wrote many spiritual works which have had a great deal of influence on the Church to the present day.

Here is just one example of her writing: “Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Saint Ignatius (d. c. 108) was the third Bishop of Antioch and is known as one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Church. He authored seven letters to Christian communities in the region of the Mediterranean and is the first to have used the term “catholic” in reference to the Church.

Ignatius is known for his great faith especially in the face of adversity. As he wrote not long before his own martyrdom, “I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, 4).

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – October 4, 2020

Dear friends,

This Sunday, October 4, is the liturgical feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226) in the General Roman Calendar.

While his feast day is not celebrated this year on October 4 given that it is the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, the feast day of Saint Francis still invites us to reflect upon this saint whose life inspires us to follow Christ more closely.

We know that Saint Francis was born in the hilltop town of Assisi in the region of Umbria which is located in central Italy just north of Rome. He came from a wealthy family that dealt in textiles and it was understood that he would take up this work in his own life.

Yet we know that this is not what he chose to do, for instead of working in textiles he decided to give up his wealth and turned to living the life of a mendicant. Indeed, he gradually inspired others to follow the same way of life, and he eventually founded a religious order known as the Order of Friars Minor, commonly referred to as the Franciscans.

The apostolate of the Order of Friars Minor is the announcement of the message of the Gospel with a special concern for the poor. Their work is found in living of the values of the Gospel by their prayer and by the witness of their lives, especially in caring for those in need.

The example of Saint Francis is an invitation for us not to let anything of this world stand in the way of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. In fact, the example of Saint Francis inspires us to dedicate ourselves as well to the values of the Gospel. Not surprisingly, the motto of the Franciscans is “Meus Deus et omnia,” in English, “My God and my all.”

As we make our way through this coming week, perhaps we can ask the Lord Jesus to help us live more closely our lives as His disciples, so that we too can increasingly experience the fruits of the Spirit and ultimately share in His life forever.

In Christ,
Father Bené

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

Dear friends,

This Thursday we enter into October and so call to mind that this month is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Rosary, as the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7.

The Rosary is a time-honored prayer in which we focus in a special way on the life of Christ and that of His mother. In the Rosary, we continually pray two of the most known prayers, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ave Maria, or Hail Mary.

The Lord’s Prayer is so named because it was given to us by Jesus Himself, for which reason it is also referred to as the perfect prayer. Here we recall the words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples on this occasion, as He told them: “This is how you are to pray…” (Matthew 6:9).

The Hail Mary takes its name from the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary on the occasion of the announcement that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. Here we recall the salutation of the Archangel who said to Mary: “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

In prayer we entrust ourselves more fully to the Lord. For this reason, it is altogether important that we continually draw close to Him in our lives especially by lifting up our hearts and minds in prayer to Him.

This month we also call to mind that October is Respect Life Month in the United States. Respecting life means protecting, defending, and promoting all human life and throughout the life cycle, that is, from conception to natural death. For us as followers of Christ, we are called to do our part in caring for all persons and by promoting a culture of life in our community and society.

We know that Mary said yes to human life by consenting to become the Mother of God. We know, too, that during His ministry among us the Lord Jesus cared for the sick and the poor. May we, in imitation of Our Lady and Her Son, be drawn to more fully promote human life by our words and by our actions, that is, by the witness of our lives.

In Christ,
Father Bené

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

Dear friends,

This past Tuesday, the Most Reverend Mark S. Rivituso, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, was here at Saint Joseph Church to celebrate Mass and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on twenty students who had been preparing to receive this Sacrament. We congratulate them and their sponsors on this special occasion and we thank all those involved in the prayerful liturgical celebration.

I thought you might find it interesting to see the saints whom they chose for their Confirmation names: Saint Alexandra, Saint Aloysius, Saint Ann, Saint Antoine, Saint Athanasius, Saint Anthony, Saint Camille, Saint Frances, Saint George, Saint Hubertus, Saint Joseph, Saint Katharine, Saint Lawrence, Saint Maria, Saint Martha, Saint Matthew, Saint Patrick, Saint Rose, and Saint Theresa.

While not providing a biography on each of these saints, I would like to draw your attention to two who may not be as known as the others, namely, Saints Camille and Hubertus. Saint Camille is Camilla Battista da Varano, O.S.C. (1458-1524), an Italian princess and Poor Clare nun and abbess, who is invoked in time of plague. Saint Hubertus is Hubert (c. 656-727), the first Bishop of the Diocese of Liège, Belgium, who is the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers.

The custom of taking an additional name at Confirmation has a long history in the life of the Roman Church. One who takes the name of a saint at Confirmation is provided with another heavenly patron whom they can invoke in the prayers as protector and guide.

May I kindly ask that you pray for those who have received the Sacrament here that the Holy Spirit will always strengthen them with His grace so that they will more fully be able to live their life in Christ.

In Christ,
Father Bené