St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 15, 2018

Hello,

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, she lived between 1656 and 1680 and was the first Native American canonized a saint on October 21, 2012. She was the daughter of an Algonquin mother and a Mohawk chief was her father. Her mother is referred to in some sources as ‘Christianized’ but it is unknown what she taught Kateri since, when she was only four, her mother and the rest of her family would die from small pox which she would survive but she would be left severely scarred by the illness. Her uncle, also a Mohawk chief, would raise her.

As a young girl she would hear three visiting Jesuits and be impressed by their words and actions. When she came of age her uncle proposed numerous men for a spouse, but she refused all of them, instead choosing to stay single despite punishments from her uncle. Around the age of 19 or 20 she would receive some instruction in Christianity and be baptized with the name of Catherine, which was spoken as Kateri in the Mohawk language.

With her conversion she would also take a vow of chastity, becoming even more firm in her resolve not to marry and even less popular with her anti-Christian uncle and others in the village. She would leave that village in the state of New York where she had lived and travel north to a Christian Indian mission near Montreal and become known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” She would only live to the age of 24 at which time she would die of an illness. Along with her holy and devout life particularly witnessed over the last few years there were also numerous miracles and favors claimed to have occurred due to her intercession beginning almost immediately after her death.

The Bishops of the United States of America first petitioned to Pope Leo XIII in 1884 to begin the beatification process for Kateri with the documents eventually submitted in 1931 and she would be declared Venerable in 1943. In 1980 she would be declared Blessed and canonized a Saint finally in 2012. She is considered a patron saint for the environment and ecology as well as of Native Americans. As you can see, being declared a saint isn’t an easy journey. But the most important part all began with how she lived her life before 1680, in a manner that would result in her eternity in heaven. She and all the Saints continue to offer ustheir intercessory prayers, may we look to them for help and inspiration in our lives.

Peace,
Fr. Nick

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Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 8, 2018

Hello,

This last week, along with the 4th of July, we also celebrated on the 3rd of July the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. While our first thoughts when we think of Thomas is “Doubting Thomas” or “Thomas, whose name means twin”, but a few years ago I began thinking of something else whenever I first think of St. Thomas, India.

Since most of us don’t think of India as being a heavily Christian or Catholic country, I learned from someone else’s mistake when I heard them ask someone from India when they or their family converted to Catholicism. Their answer was not in the last generation or two as the questioner expected, but rather when Thomas came to India. I’m not sure when the first of my ancestors became Catholic, but I don’t think we can do much better than that. Since then I’ve learned that in certain parts of India Catholicism is normally traced back to Thomas, in some other areas they may trace it back to St. Francis Xavier and the Jesuits who first came there in 1542. I have to admit before overhearing the question my inclination would have been the same as the person who asked the question.

I also mention that this week as we celebrated the 4th of July and the freedom that we have in our nation as an opportunity to just be a little more aware of what we do know, and what we might mistakenly presume at times. About the freedoms we have in our country, about how we, or our ancestors first got here. About others who might have immigrated recently or desire to. I remember reading some letters that one of my sisters-in-law found in a book that an ancestor who had immigrated was writing back to relatives in Germany and telling them of how good things were going for them here, but not to bother coming if you aren’t willing to work really hard to make it. It was particularly interesting to me at the time as it made me see my ancestors a little more like a friend who came here from Vietnam in the 1970’s and how their family really worked hard to establish themselves here and then to sponsor other members to come. Seeing some similarities and differences in our families’ stories, and not all where I expected them to be.

Immigration has always been an important part of our country, many coming here specifically to be able to experience the freedoms that we were celebrating this last week. I hope that we are open to listen to the true situations of those personally affected by the current immigrations, and consider what values and beliefs we demonstrate by how we exercise our freedoms regarding new immigrants.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 1, 2018

Hello,

Last Monday we had a funeral here that had a good number of relatives and friends and after the funeral we were able to offer, if they desired, to have a luncheon in the parish hall. They ended up having almost 100 people that came down for the luncheon and it was a very nice celebration after the funeral Mass. Most notably, many of the family commented about how nice it was, and particularly about how friendly the parishioners were who helped serve the meal. What a fantastic example of living out a passage from last Tuesday’s Gospel:

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” (MT 7:12)

A wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, friend had just died and we were able to help them share a meal together as family and friends to remember and celebrate her in a manner where they felt welcome and at home.

The other week I was asking if some people would consider serving in various ministries here at the parish, another one that we have for funeral luncheons and other gatherings and receptions after Masses is our hospitality ministers. Some help with funeral luncheons, either dropping off some food or helping to serve it; others help with gatherings after Mass or other receptions. I would ask you to consider if this is a way you might help the parish and fellow parishioners. If so, please give our parish secretary, Pat, a call at 314-726-1221 as we are trying to reinvigorate this ministry at the parish.

One way we can all be hospitality ministers is in our welcoming of others, and this week we can specifically welcome our new associate pastor, Fr. Phil Bené. He is being assigned as part time senior associate pastor here at St. Joseph’s while he will still be working as a judge at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese. You will recognize him as the man on the cover of this week’s bulletin or as that other priest celebrating Mass here that isn’t me. I could say more about him but I would rather let him tell you himself in the weeks to come.

Peace,
Fr. Nick