St. Joseph Catholic Church

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 20, 2018


I’ve been sorting through some of Fr. Schaab’s books that his family left behind in his office, thinking of what to do with different ones – give some to the seminary, where seminarians might find one they want, or donate others to a book fair, and I started setting aside some small prayer books and devotional pamphlets I thought I might place by the confessionals that people might want. Then I realized that many of the books are spiritual books that are not specifically for priests or seminarians but that others would also be interested in, so I had an idea.

I am setting up a bookshelf in the North front entrance to the church, next to St. Anthony’s statue, of spiritual books of Fr. Schaab’s for people to take, and I’m calling it Fr. Schaab’s Shelves. I knew, and have also heard often over the past few months, how important his hearing of people’s confessions were to many. I hope that this will be another way that he is able to help many of us to grow in our faith. He had one of those seals that you can mark one of the first pages in your book with that says “Library of Fr. Thomas J. Schaab” that was used on many of the books so hopefully that will also be a reminder of him for many of us. But most important is
that they help us grow in our faith.

With that in mind I am also going to propose that we might not just take a book for our use, but possibly also place one on the shelves that was helpful to us that we consider might also help someone else. Kind of like the neighborhood library boxes that have books to be taken, or you can leave one behind, but these are meant to be books that will help us in our faith. If all the books are taken and no new ones appear I will be glad that Fr. Schaab’s books have found new homes. But, if it continues to have different books that are left and taken that would also be a good memory of him and a new resource for the community.

Realizing that this is also Pentecost Sunday seemed like a particularly appropriate weekend to put out his books. As Jesus had risen to heaven, but the Holy Spirit came to be with us, and Fr. Schaab has died and we pray gone to heaven, but he has left these as a means for us to be open to the Holy Spirit

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day,

In honor of Mother’s Day I thought it would be good to take a look at some of the saints who are mothers. Of course, the first one that comes to mind is Mary, mother of Jesus. Her saying yes to God when told of his intent that she would bear His son, and all that she would go through in the challenges and sorrows of raising Jesus, and up to the point of witnessing his suffering and death. We should also be aware of the title for Mary of Theotokos, mother of God, as this reminds us not only about her, but also about her son, Jesus. And, while we are talking about Mary, I should mention St. Anne, her mother. While there are some different stories regarding her and the raising of Mary we know for sure that Mary had a mother and not knowing other things we can focus on the obvious debt we all owe to our parents.

Another mother who is a saint, that I always remember because her feast day is on my birthday, is St. Monica. She is the mother of St. Augustine and is known for her devotion to God. When she was young she was married to a Roman pagan and they would have three children. Through her example, persistence, and prayers both her husband and mother-in-law would eventually convert and be baptized the year before he would die. Unlike his two siblings who would enter religious life as they became adults, Augustine would be known for his focus on worldly pleasures. Monica stayed persistent in her prayers and efforts to convert Augustine, even involving the bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, in her efforts, until finally Augustine was baptized and became a Christian, and would himself become a saint.

In quite a different mode it was actually the Emperor Constantine who would be the influence that brought his mother, St. Helena, to Christianity. She would become known for her helping individuals and whole communities from her position by works of charity. Another saintly and royal mother is St. Judith. From a wealthy German family she would marry a nobleman who was used to living a very extravagant lifestyle. But through her influence she would lead him to a simpler lifestyle, donating much to the poor, and also raise their children in this manner. When her husband died she would donate her possessions to the poor and join a religious order to serve the poor and the sick.

And a fairly recent saint is Saint Gianna, born in 1922. She was an Italian pediatrician, a wife, and a mother of three when she would become pregnant with her fourth child. During this pregnancy she was found to have a tumor on her uterus. She was given a few different options that could save her life but would result in the death of her unborn child. Instead she chose a minor procedure to be done that would save the life of her child, but put her at severe risk, continuing to give instructions to her doctors to do what was necessary to save her baby’s life even at the risk of her own. Seven days after her child was born she would die.

Even if our mothers’ have not been declared saints by the Church I have no doubt that many more of them are. And the best gift we can give them is to live to become saints ourselves.

Fr. Nick

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 6, 2018


Last Monday we celebrated the feast of St. Pius V. And to be sure you get your names and numbers right St. Pius V was pope from 1566-1572, immediately after the Council of Trent which was between 1545 and 1563. It made me think of the close, but different, name and number of Pope Paul VI who was pope from 1963-1978 and would lead and incorporate the changes from the Second Vatican Council. Each would incorporate the liturgical changes from the ecumenical councils of their day. And reflecting on that, I think is worthwhile to see the differences between the two times and the changes that would come about, appreciating the changes required if we are to continue to grow and be as a church and also to help see the way these may help us more fully live out our faith in our day.

At the time of Pius V the Protestant Reformation had occurred and the Council of Trent solidified certain practices regarding the liturgy and the sacraments. With the printing of books advancing and allowing the production of books much easier so the books for these various sacraments could be spread throughout the world in a way that was not possible before. Also with the Protestant Reformation there would be a much greater variety of practices and teachings that people would encounter and along with the books describing the liturgies for the sacraments was also a catechism to help clearly spread the teachings and beliefs of our faith.

Along with the Protestant Reformation this was also the time when the New World was being explored and numerous missionaries would be going to various cultures throughout the world with minimal ability to keep in contact with others for long periods. Establishing clear and uniform practices for our faith was a critical way to help assure the faith passed on was our Catholic faith.

Going forward to 1963 and Pius VI with Vatican II we realize the world was now very different. Communication, transportation, education are only some of the most basic differences let alone our government and societal structures and beliefs. The most obvious change from Vatican II of celebrating the sacraments in our local language allowed such a deeper understanding and participation for the average person. With our current catechism we not only encourage a uniformity of our beliefs but also a deeper understanding so we can truly form our individual consciences regarding these beliefs and how we are to live them out in each of our unique situations.

These are very simple comparisons and observations about these two different times, but if we don’t take the time to consider them not only can we miss the opportunity of learning from our history, but also the opportunities that the future may hold. Continued changes and advances in our world will always provide new challenges, but hopefully we also see the opportunities they offer to understand, live and share our faith in ways that we couldn’t before.

Fr. Nick