St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 13, 2020

Dear friends,

Celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation

This Tuesday, September 15, the Most Reverend Mark S. Rivituso, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, will celebrate Holy Mass here at Saint Joseph Church at 7:00 p.m. during which he will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on nineteen students in the Saint Joseph Parish School of Religion Program.

Originally their reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation was scheduled to take place this past April but was not held given the pandemic. We are delighted that Bishop Rivituso is coming here to Saint Joseph Parish to confer the Sacrament. From the outset, I take this opportunity to thank the students who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation for their patience over the last several months. I also thank their parents and teachers, the catechists, who have prepared them for this day.

In Confirmation, which, along with Baptism and the Eucharist, is one of the Sacraments of Initiation, we are given an intensification of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us live out our vocation, or calling, in Christ. As Pope Saint John Paul II once put it, “By bringing baptismal grace to fulfillment, Confirmation unites us more firmly to Jesus Christ and to his Body, the Church. This sacrament also increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us, to give us ‘a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross’” (General Audience, October 14, 1998).

It goes without saying that there are many challenges in the world today. For this reason, it is all the more important that we receive the graces that come from the reception of this Sacrament.

May I kindly ask that you pray for the students who will be confirmed this week that the Holy Spirit will be with them always as they strive to follow the Lord Jesus by their lives.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 6, 2020

Dear friends,

Labor Day
This Monday, September 7, we commemorate the federal holiday of Labor Day and so call to mind the dignity of work and the importance of rest from work.

Interestingly enough, the modern day form of the social teaching of the Church can be traced to the teaching of Pope Leo XIII contained in his Encyclical Rerum novarum which focused especially on the rights of workers. One of the main issues of the day was that their rights were being trampled upon by businesses to such an extent that workers were suffering. In response, Leo XIII set out in Rerum novarum specific principles that must be upheld for workers based on their inherent dignity as persons. In our own day, Pope Saint John Paul II further advanced the social teaching of the Church in this regard with his promulgation of the Encyclical Laborem exercens. Among other things, he focused on the increase in information technology, environmental issues, and the desire of those in developing countries to participate in the global economy.

On this Labor Day, let us not forget those who are in need of gainful employment. Let us also pray that we will all have the opportunity on this day to enjoy some rest from our work.

Parish School of Religion
The first days of the Parish School of Religion will be next Sunday and Monday, September 13 and 14, respectively. As we begin this school year, we pray for all of our students and teachers. In particular, we ask the Holy Spirit to be with them as they learn more about our faith and translating it into action in their daily lives.

This year we warmly welcome Miss Kelly Holton who is the new Coordinator of Religious Education. Kelly comes to us with experience in having taught in parish school of religion programs in the area and has just completed a Master of Arts degree in Theology. Kelly is responsible for the coordination of religious education in the parish and has been busy cleaning the classrooms and putting in place the requirements of the present County health order.

Please pray for her, the students, and the teachers that the Lord Jesus will bless them in a special way.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 30, 2020

Dear friends,

This past Tuesday on the Solemnity of Saint Louis IX, the Most Reverend Mitchell Thomas Rozanski was installed as the tenth Archbishop of Saint Louis in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Father Mike Donald and I, along with some parishioners, were able to be present for this historic occasion. Given the present health order, seating was limited and yet a considerable number of persons were able to be there given the significant size of the Cathedral Basilica.

At the beginning of the Mass of Installation, the representative of our Holy Father publicly read the Apostolic Letter by which Pope Francis appointed the Most Reverend Mitchell Rozanski as Archbishop of Saint Louis and conferred on him the Pallium, a woolen vestment which consists of a narrow circular band placed around the shoulders with a short lappet hanging from the front and back.

The Pallium represents “the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life” and “is the symbol of a special relationship with the Pope and expresses, moreover, the power, that, in communion with the Church of Rome, the metropolitan acquires by right in his own jurisdiction” (The Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Roman Pontiff, “The Use of the Pallium,” (2020), ).

Here we recall that the Bishops of the Church are successors of the college of Apostles and that the direct successor of Saint Peter is the Bishop of Rome. The Bishops of the Church exercise their jurisdiction with and under the Bishop of Rome. What took place this past week was a visible manifestation of the unity of the Catholic Church and an expression of the pastoral solicitude of the Bishop of Rome for the people of the Archdiocese and Province of Saint Louis.

As a successor to the College of the Apostles, the Bishops of the Church are entrusted with the proclamation of the Good News of Christ. They are true Pastors of the Church who are given the solemn responsibility of teaching the faith of Christ, offering worship to God, and governing the portion of the People of God entrusted to them. As Archbishop Rozanski takes up his pastoral responsibilities here, let us pray for him that the Lord God will strengthen him in his proclamation of the Gospel.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 23, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

The Solemnity of Saint Louis IX, King of France
The feast day of Saint Louis is on Tuesday, August 25. Given that he is the Patron of the City and County of Saint Louis, not to mention the principal Patron of this Archdiocese, his feast day is being celebrated here as a Solemnity and on this Sunday, August 23.

When it was founded in the year 1764, Pierre Laclède Liguest named what was then a trading post in honor of Saint Louis IX (25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270), the French king known for his faith in God and devotion to his family. Growing up, Louis was influenced especially by the example of his mother, Blanche of Castile, and was tutored by the Reverend Father Vincent de Beauvais, a Dominican friar at the Royaumont Abbey, just north of Paris.

As king, Louis IX was known for his commitment to the Church, to the administration of justice, and to those in need. Louis IX is known for having obtained the Relic of the Crown of Thorns and having La Sainte Chapelle built to enshrine it. He is known for his having served as an impartial arbitrator in his kingdom, for which reason he was sought out for his administration of fair and impartial justice. He is known, as well, for his commitment to providing food for the poor and caring for those suffering from leprosy. Indeed, he founded many hospitals and houses for the sick.

On this Solemnity, let us pray that, through the intercession of Saint Louis, we ourselves will be inspired to follow Christ more closely and be all the more committed to being of active charity toward others, especially those who are in need.

Retirement of Archbishop Carlson and installation of Archbishop Rozanski
This Tuesday, August 25, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Archbishop Mitch- ell Rozanski will be installed at the new Archbishop of Saint Louis.

As we prepare for this transition, let us pray in thanksgiving to God for the many years of apostolic ministry of Archbishop Robert Carlson. This year, Archbishop Carlson recently celebrated 50 years as a Priest and will be celebrating 38 years as a Bishop, 11 of which have been as Archbishop of Saint Louis. In these final days of his service as Apostolic Administrator, we pray to the Lord Jesus that He will bless him as he enters into retirement.

Let us also pray in thanksgiving to God for the appointment of Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski as the new Archbishop of Saint Louis. This year, Archbishop Rozanski will be celebrating 36 years as a Priest and 16 years as a Bishop. As he makes his proximate preparations for his installation this week, we pray that the Lord Jesus will bless him as he takes up his new responsibilities as Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 16, 2020

Dear friends,

Thank you to the Public Works Department of the City of Clayton

You may have recently noticed on the west side of the parish grounds that the trees between the sidewalk and North Meramec Avenue have been trimmed. Since it had been several years since it had been done, a request was made to the Public Works Department and that within days they were trimmed for which reason they look much better there and the grass will be able to grow more easily.

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Next Saturday, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and so calls to mind her unique role in salvation history and the fact that after her assumption into heaven she was “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Lumen gentium, 59). On establishing this feast day in 1954, the Venerable Pope Pius XII wrote that

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven and never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen” (Encyclical Ad caeli reginam, 1).

In replacing the octave of the Assumption with this feast day in 1969, Pope Saint Paul VI liturgically linked more closely the Assumption of Our Lady with her Queenship.

In these challenging times, let us invoke the intercession of Our Lady, under the title of Queen of Peace, as we ask her to pray that we will all more fully experience the peace of heart that only Christ can give us.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 9, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Next Saturday, August 15, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We know that Mary is the mother of Jesus who is Christ, the Son of God. She can rightly be called Mother of God because of the fact that she is His mother. In her conception, Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin and throughout her life she did not sin so much was her will consonant with that of her Son. For this reason, when the course of her earthly life was finished, Mary was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven from where she continually intercedes for
us to God.

This teaching which is a dogma of our faith and has a long history in the life of the Church as attested to by, for example, Saint John of Damascus who wrote the following regarding the teaching of the Church of Jerusalem concerning the assumption of Mary into heaven:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon, made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; where from the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven (P.G., I, 96).

On this solemnity, let us pray through the intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption that we will strive to be as faithful to following Christ as she was, so that we, too, will one day be brought to the glory of the Resurrection.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 2, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Feast of Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars

This Tuesday, August 4, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars. On this day, we call to mind the sanctity of this parish priest who placed prayer at the center of his life and who devoted himself especially to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation.

When the young priest Father John Vianney arrived in the little town of Ars-sur-Formans in southeast France, there was certainly a parish there but there weren’t many people frequenting the parish church. Here we recall that this was in the years following the French Revolution, a consequence of which was the gradual secularization of French society. For this reason, it is not altogether surprising that Father Vianney was met with this challenging situation at his parish. Instead of giving up, however, he devoted himself all the more to prayer and dedicated himself to the reverent celebration of the Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. Gradually townsfolk began to learn of his holiness and were drawn to the Sacraments. By the end of his life, he was known throughout France especially for his dedication to hearing the confessions of the faithful.

On this feast day, let us pray for all parish priests, that, through the intercession of the Curé of Ars, they will dedicate themselves, above all, to prayer and to the Sacraments of the Church so that they will become increasingly authentic witnesses to the Gospel message of the love of Christ, reconciliation with Him, and the extension of His charity to others.

Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

This Wednesday, August 5, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Here we recall that this feast day celebrates the dedication of the Patriarchial Basilica dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God,popularly known as Our Lady of the Snows.

On this day, we call to mind that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the perfect disciple of the Lord and the person closest to Christ. She is rightly called Mother of God because she is the mother of Jesus who is a divine Person with a human nature. Oftentimes on returning from a pastoral visit, our Holy Father Pope Francis makes his way to the chapel in the Basilica in which the icon of Salus Populi Romani. or Health or Salvation of the Roman People. is kept and there prays before the holy image as he invokes her intercession.

On this feast day, let us pray through the intercession of the Mother of God that, in imitation of her, we will draw all the more closely to Christ so that we will more fully extend His love, mercy, and forgiveness to others.

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

This Thursday, August 6, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration. Here we recall the miraculous event in which Our Lord was transfigured in the presence of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, on the holy mountain and in which the Prophets Moses and Elijah appeared alongside the Lord Jesus. This event was a foreshadowing of the Resurrection of Jesus and so provided hope to the disciples that even though Jesus would suffer and die on the Cross He would be raised from the dead to new life and thus become the source of salvation for all who believe.

Even though we continue to live with uncertainty in these days, we know that that this will eventually lead to something altogether better. All we need do is look at the present circumstances through the eyes of faith in order to see that the Lord Jesus accompanies us through every aspect of our lives. He wants us to experience a deep and abiding peace of heart and He gives us His grace to experience this in our own lives. May this feast day be an invitation for us to entrust ourselves all the more to the Lord Jesus as we look to Him who alone is the way, the truth, and the life for all people.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 26, 2020

Upcoming Amendment 2 Vote

Remember on August 4th Amendment 2, expanding Medicaid eligibility in our state, will be on the ballot. Currently Missouri is one of only 13 states in which non-disabled adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are generally ineligible for Medicaid no matter how low their income.

More than 230,000 Missourians currently living without health insurance would gain access to Medicaid with a successful ballot initiative. Missouri would demonstrate its commitment to the dignity of human life.

Please prayerfully consider voting yes on Amendment 2 on August 4th. For more information, contact Tamara Kenny, director of advocacy and community engagement at Catholic Charities of St. Louis, at or (314) 256-5948.

A Share in God’s Kingdom

Today concludes a three-week series of Gospel texts in which we have listened to a total of seven parables about the
Kingdom. The believer is asked to consider the request that God made of Solomon in today’s first reading: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you” (1 Kings 3:5). Today’s parables about the treasure buried in the field and the pearl of great price should prompt us to answer, “A share in your kingdom, O God!” Today we discover that the kingdom of God is beyond value, a priceless treasure. Unfortunately, our culture bombards us with things that it believes are priceless treasures—the bigger and better SUVs, anti-aging and anti-balding creams and salves, miracle diets, and so much more. Having a share in God’s kingdom and helping to bring about that kingdom are the greatest treasures that we can ever hope to gain.

© J.S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 19, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Repair of sidewalk and widening of east side entrance to the parking lot

You may have noticed that the sidewalk and entrance to the parish parking lot on the east side of the property have been under construction. We are grateful that the City of Clayton is repairing that part of the sidewalk and widening that entrance way to accommodate more easily vehicles that enter through it. The hope is that this will preclude them from hitting the stone wall on the south side of the entrance way.

Statue of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis

You may have been following the recent controversy regarding the placement of the statue of Saint Louis on Art Hill in Forest Park. The statue is entitled the Apotheosis of Saint Louis. The original plaster cast of it stood near the entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair. Reflecting upon it, Rolla Wells, the Mayor of the City of Saint Louis from 1901 to 1909, wrote that the statue was placed there as Saint Louis is the patron saint of the City and was meant to be a symbol of peace as evidenced by the transposed sword in his hand (“From Episodes of My Life, the Statue of St. Louis,” in Seeking St. Louis: Voices of a River City: 1670-2000 [2000], 477).

After the Fair, the statue was cast in bronze and presented by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company to the City of Saint Louis in 1906. On the occasion of the presentation of the statue, David R. Francis, President of the Company and former Governor of Missouri and Mayor of Saint Louis, said in his address that “as the property of the people, I confide this superb statue of our patron saint” (ibid.). While none of the saints in the history of the Church were perfect, they gradually responded to the grace of God at work in their hearts to draw close to Him and ultimately became models of virtue. Such was the case with Louis IX and such was also the case with his younger sister, Isabelle, who was also canonized.

In light of the controversy regarding the statue of the patron saint of the City and County of Saint Louis, and indeed the Archdiocese, the words of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis seem particularly apropos at the present time: “the removal of the statue will not erase the history, but our present day collaboration can help us move forward” (Ghazala Hayat, Chair Public Affairs Committee, Statement of June 2020). Here I am reminded of the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis who said that

Like Christ on the way to Emmaus, the Church wishes to be close to and to accompany every man and woman. Such a readiness to walk together is much more necessary in this day and age, marked by profound and never-before-known interactions between diverse peoples and cultures. In this context, the Church will be ever more committed to travel along the path of dialogue and to intensify the already fruitful cooperation with all those who, belonging to different religious traditions, share her intention to build relations of friendship and share in the many initiatives of dialogue (Message of Pope Francis on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, May 19, 2014).

Let the present moment be an opportunity for us to pray for such collaboration between Christians and those of other religious traditions with a view toward friendship marked by dialogue.

In Christ,

Father Bené