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 30, 2018


Saturday, September 29th we celebrated the Feast of St. Michael, St. Raphael, and St. Gabriel the archangels. I think it is a little confusing at times when we refer to them as St. Michael, St. Raphael, and St. Gabriel, not that it is wrong if we are talking of saints as those in the presence of God in heaven, but we have to realize that they are angels and never were humans. The Catechism defines angels as “a spiritual, personal, and immortal creature with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan.”

But the angels (which literally means messenger) that we celebrate here are called archangels.Arch refers to them as being above others in rank in some way and in this case we realize that they are the three angels who are mentioned by name in Scripture due to their important purpose or the message that they would bring.

St. Michael, whose name means “who is like to God” is mentioned by name in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel, and in the New Testament in the Letter of Jude and in the book of Revelations. He is described as having the responsibility of combating Satan, to rescue souls from the enemy, and to be a champion of God’s people.

St. Gabriel, whose name means “God is my strength” is also mentioned in the Old and New Testament. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel but is probably best known for announcing the birth of John to Zechariah and the birth of Jesus to Mary in the Gospel of Luke, thus most clearly living up to the role of an angel as a messenger.

St. Raphael, whose name means “God is my health” is mentioned by name in the book of Tobit. He is associated with healing since he cures Tobit and gives him back his sight. He is not mentioned by name in the New Testament but is often considered the angel referred to as healing through the pools at Bethesda in the Gospel of John.

Other angels are also mentioned and specifically numbered as seven a few places in Scripture. You might even hear names attributed to them but they are only named in non -Scriptural texts such as the Book of Enoch and other sources that give slightly different names.

So as we celebrate the feast of the Archangels let us be open to their help and protection, but also realize that while we strive to one day be saints, we will never be angels.

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 23, 2018


This year the archdiocese has chosen the theme for Stewardship Sunday of “Share the Joy”. Do we really think of joy when we think of stewardship? Whether it be in our gift of time, talent or treasure, do we see that as really being joyful? Consider using different words instead. Instead of the gift of time, consider the gift of prayer. Taking some of our limited, precious time to spend with God. If we are thinking of it as all the other things we could be doing or that we need to be doing it may not be so joyful, but if we truly consider it as just spending time with God, I hope we can see the joy in that.

How about instead of the gift of talent we consider the gift of participation. That means being a part of something and involved in an action that is going to serve others. Again we can hopefully see the joy in this of having the opportunity to use our talents to help someone else, but at times we can see this too much as just work. Work as a drudgery, which gets in the way of what we want to be doing. If we see it as work then we are doing it because we feel we have to or simply to gain some other reward such as a salary or recognition. If we are doing it as stewardship, as a ministry, then we see our reward in being able to use our talents to serve others, and that will bring us joy.

And finally, instead of the gift of treasure maybe consider the gift of generosity. When I think of the word of treasure I think of something static, something that is being saved or preserved, not touched out of fear that this valuable thing will be lost. When I hear the word generosity I think of an action, the use of a treasure, of a security that we may be keeping static for ourselves, but that I have decided to use now to answer the need we recognize of another. The purpose of a treasure is to meet a need or a want, putting it to that use for another is truly sharing the joy of what a treasure is meant for.

When we consider prayer, participation, and generosity hopefully we can see how our time, talent, and treasure are being shared with others, with God. And in each of these situations hopefully we have some joy to begin with just recognizing the gifts God has given us, but that joy is increased when we realize the opportunity of sharing that gift with others. Consider some act of stewardship that you have done in the past where you can recognize the joy you had of being aware of your gift, and of being able to share it with another.

Please consider what other ways God may be calling you to stewardship, the joy thatGod wants for you, and the joy you will be able to share with others.

Fr. Nick

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 16, 2018


I don’t know if you noticed but peach season seems to have just come to an end. Around St. Louis you can particularly tell the peach season because not only do the prices go down but you see the local Eckert’s peaches around also. The interesting thing about peach season and the seasons for other fruits is that unlike many things, when they are most abundant and the cheapest is also when they are in season and at their best. Unlike years ago when you could only get the fruits when they were in season, (and you had to can them or freeze them if you wanted them a different time of the year), now you can usually get almost any type of fruit any time of the year, but it may be from a different country, it probably is going to cost a lot more, and it won’t taste as good as when it is locally in season.

As I was thinking about that I realized that it had some parallels with another part of our lives, are we going to follow our schedule or God’s schedule? Our will or God’s will? Just like the fruits, God has given us enough freedom that usually if we are stubborn enough and put in enough effort we can live on our schedule and just follow our will over God’s schedule and will. But also like the fruit, it is a lot more expensive and is never going to be as good.

Like the fruits, there are natural ways in which they grow, how they were created and how they were meant to be, and so it is with us. So we can spend our efforts trying to be something that we are not, and never being able to do it as well as we could have been what God had meant us to be, that is natural for us. Or we can spend a bit of effort trying to find out how God has meant us to be, and then try to live that way. For the fruit it is finding out the right seasons, the weather, the soil, the environmental conditions where it grows the best, and then when it is best to harvest them. For us our environment also matters, the people and experiences we are exposed to. How prepared we are for when we experience the different Challenges and changes in our lives. I thinkJesus had a few parables about weeds and rocky soil that would work in here too. Don’t worry, I won’t get into any arguments about organic fruits versus genetically modified ones here, that is a little bit beyond the depth of my comparison. I did notice though that the grapes looked really good and were on sale the other day and I think Helen Keller had the right attitude when she said, “So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.” Maybe we just need to focus a little more on what God is giving us today.

Fr. Nick