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 29, 2018

Hello,

In the calendar of the Church we are in the middle of what is called Ordinary Time, the seventeenth out of thirty-four actually. The word ordinary means it isn’t one of the special seasons like Christmas or Easter, or even Advent or Lent, but rather the rest of the year with the word ordinary meaning numbered, week 1, week 2,…. This is the time outside those special celebration and preparation periods when the real living of our lives occurs.

I mention this because we can just segregate our faith out that it is something we do on those special times mentioned, or maybe then and Sunday too because those are the times we come together as a community for Mass and other sacraments, but is that how our faith is meant to be in our lives? Is it just for certain special times, or even just an external part of us like clothes that we change depending on the season or what we are doing? Or is it a more fundamental part of not just what we do, but who we are?

One way to recognize how we see and practice our faith is when we go on vacation. When we go on vacation it is from the work in our lives, work being the things we have to do so we can support the things we need in our lives, the necessities, but work also helps us to do the things we just want to do, the luxuries. When we are on vacation we are hopefully doing a thing we want to do, sitting on a beach, biking down a mountain, touring a museum or a park, but also continuing the things we need to do, eating and sleeping. Some vacations may be obviously religious and include going on a retreat, or visiting a shrine, or making a pilgrimage, and those are special times, but on the other vacations do we still see the need to pray and attend Sunday Mass. There may be certain places and times that you can’t get to a church, but other times, like food, it might just be a little different than we are used to, the language or culture, which can be a challenge, or also a great surprise in some of the variety you experience. What about praying mealtime prayers, even if you are out in public, or a rosary or just a decade of a rosary during a long car trip. Or maybe a book you take with you is religious or spiritual or brings up some topics related to your faith that would be good to reflect on in some of this down time.

I’m writing this right before going on vacation and it will be in the bulletin right when I get back. I think having a good vacation now and then is important, just consider what is it I’m taking a vacation from, and what does that say about where my faith is in my life?

Peace,
Fr. Nick

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Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – July 22, 2018

Hello,

This coming week is the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. Written on July 25, 1968 it was a time when many moral teachings about life, marriage, and sexuality, were being questioned and many different thoughts were being proposed. Amidst this Pope Paul VI provided this letter, beginning with the following words:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships. The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

While I was only four at the time and so I was not exactly aware of the reaction people were having to it, I have since heard from many who were older at the time and in different situations: young adults, newly married couples, not so newly married couples, priests of various generations. All had responses to this letter and I have been told how it affected them at the time. I and others who are younger can consider how it has affected us since and still is today.

I would encourage you to read or reread this encyclical. (http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html) It isn’t that long and it addresses many topics that hopefully we still consider important to us today such as Marriage, Sex, Life, Children, and Respect for self, others, and God. On the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s website they make the following list of predictions Paul VI made about what not living up to the Church’s teachings may result in:

Infidelity and moral decline: He predicted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”

Loss of respect for women: Paul VI argued that “the man” will lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium” and will come to “the point of considering her a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

Abuse of power: The Holy Father saw that the widespread use of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon…in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.”

Unlimited dominion: He warned that contraception would lead man to think he had unlimited dominion over his own body. (www.archspm.org/sections/50th-anniversaryhumanae-vitae/)

We need to recognize and respect all the incredible gifts God has given us, especially the gift of life.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


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