St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – May 27, 2018

* On Monday 5/28/18, the Memorial Day Mass will be offered at 9 am only *


This weekend, May 26th, we celebrate the feast of Philip Neri. I have to admit I really don’t know that much about him and was trying to get an idea for what I wanted to write this week and as I read about him I thought he would be appropriate to share about. He lived from 1515-1595, growing up in Florence but he would later move to and minister in Rome. In this period after the Reformation there was a great need for a strengthening in the Church, and while other religious orders were starting, and he would be friends with some of their founders like Ignatius of Loyola of the Jesuits, but he had a simpler path. He would found the Congregation of the Priests of the Oratory. Not a religious order but rather a group having a church (and later many churches) where priests would live and minister together to the area.

I think the aspect of Philip that stood out to me the most when reading about him was that the descriptions are fairly simple and he is described with words like common-sense and humanizing religion. He is known as the patron saint of humor and joy and one of the traits that he is described with as helping most in his ministry is an abounding kindness. This is probably due to the most special occurrence that is described as happening in his faith life being this incredible realization of the power of the Holy Spirit in himself and the realization of God’s immense love, to a degree that he physically had an enlarged heart.

While known for serving the poor and celebrating the sacraments, spending many hours hearing confessions, he was also known for his practical jokes, not something we hear every day of a saint. A variety of clever quotes are attributed to him that show his attitude toward life and faith such as, “It is easier to guide cheerful persons in the spiritual life than the melancholy,” and “Be good, if you can.”
And a contemporary described his method of ministry as follows:

“With the word of God he miraculously en-kindled in many men a holy love of Christ. He had nothing else in mind but to put them on fire with the desire for prayer, for frequentation of the sacraments and for works of charity.”

A little less severe than some saints as well as more inviting. Not a bad model for most of us.

Fr. Nick

P.S. In case you weren’t at Mass here last weekend I want to let you know that another priest will be moving to St. Joseph’s at the end of June, Fr. Phil Bené. He will be assigned as part-time associate here as he continues working as a judge with me at the Metropolitan Tribunal.


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