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 9, 2018


Two weeks ago I wrote about some of the things the Church has done since 2002 when we became painfully aware of some of the extent of abuse of children by priests in the past and the failure to have done more to prevent this. I also mentioned that we need to do what we can to hold authorities more accountable for their actions in attempting to change this in our Church and in our society. In our society we need to consider, propose, and support laws that may help victims and to protect the vulnerable. In the Church we need to also make our voices heard to consider, propose, and support changes that can help.

One of the main ways to make our voices heard in the Church is the same way as it is in the rest of society, to write to those in positions of authority. Specifically I can write to the head of our local church, Archbishop Carlson; the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo; and to Pope Francis. Their addresses are as follows:

Archbishop Robert Carlson
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
President – USCCB
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington, DC 200017

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

I plan on writing them this week to express my concerns as well as those parishioners have expressed to me.

Just today I saw a letter to the USCCB from Anne M. Burke published in the Chicago – Sun-Times. She served as an Interim Chair of the National Review Board of the USCCB that was formed 15 years ago to address reports of sexual abuse in the Church at that time. She, and the rest of that independent board, are volunteering to investigate recent concerns in the Church and listed the questions they feel need to be answered. I am grateful for her sending this letter and providing a step in a possible path forward.

In addition to writing those I mention above, you can also write, e-mail, or talk to me. I am grateful for those who have already communicated with me about this topic and invite you to continue to do so. I know that this is not something that is simply addressed in one letter, or one homily, but something we must continue to work and pray to overcome.

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 2, 2018


Trying to think about a topic for this week’s bulletin I realized that this last month, this last summer, seemed to have a lot of negative news. In the Church, even with the Pope going to Ireland for a special World Meeting of Families, I had to look up what the actual title of the gathering was. In our government, with countless trials and accusations, and that isn’t even talking about the elections. But there has been one very encouraging thing I have been seeing and participating in this last summer, numerous wedding anniversaries.

One of my brothers was just telling me about the trip he and my sister-in-law are going on for their 30th wedding anniversary this fall. I’ve celebrated and known of numerous 50th anniversaries this summer and even a 60th anniversary. Each of them were very joyful. And it didn’t mean that everything had gone perfect over those years, or that they hadn’t had numerous challenges and pains. But they were able to see what a blessing their marriage has been for them, to have a spouse that loves them, and one that they have been blessed to love.

When I talk to couples in marriage preparation at times I ask them to think about a couple they may know who, from their perspective, have been married forever and you really can’t imagine them without the other. A couple that they would hope their marriage could be something like one day. And then realize that it wasn’t always easy for that couple. They had challenges and pains and sorrows, difficult decisions they had to make, some they did right, but others were mistakes. And realize they have gone through all we can think of and more to get to where they are today, in this relationship that they hope their marriage can be like.

Hopefully, thinking of some of those couples, and the many years they have been together, and the place where they are now, we aren’t just happy for them, but also hopeful for us. Whether it be in your marriages, our Church, or any part of our society, with love and faith we should always have hope.

Fr. Nick

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 26, 2018


Last week a grand jury report came out in Pennsylvania addressing priests accused of abusing children and how those situations were handled by bishops in 6 dioceses over the past 70 years. My reactions, like those of many others I have talked to, range from anger, to sorrow, to shame, but I did notice one reaction that was also involved in 2002 that I and others no longer had, disbelief. Unfortunately, that is because we are already aware of similar actions that we might have doubted in the past but we now know are true. Fortunately, it means that we are listening to victims. Not blindly, but with respect and concern, and hopefully the desire to care for them, protect others, and to do all that is possible to prevent these sins, these crimes, from happening again.

There are numerous actions that we have done and, hopefully, we take this as a reminder as to why we have to do them. “Protecting God’s Children” and other means of instructing all employees and volunteers about practices and actions that are acceptable and those that are not. Recognizing what can potentially lead to abuse and how to identify and confront it. This report can be an encouragement to not grow lax in our awareness and a reminder that we need to change our entire culture to prevent these actions in the future.

Priests and deacons, whenever they travel to another diocese for any ministry are required to have their home diocese send the diocese and the parish they are going to a letter informing them that they are a priest or deacon in good standing. Acheck to be sure that a minister who may be visiting from another diocese does not have any allegations against them and also a reminder for their home diocese and the bishop that they have a responsibility for the actions of this priest or deacon. This change has taken older priests a while to get used to and even remember it is needed when they travel outside the diocese, but like seat belts in a car, younger priests who have always known this practice just consider it normal. This report is again a sad reminder of why this practice is needed.

But there is also more that we need to do, and hopefully some of that anger we are experiencing will help our resolve with this response. In holding authorities more accountable for their actions, in the past and present. In recognizing that no one is beyond question and having a means to hear and investigate any accusation. And also in considering what civil laws may be needed to help prevent and seek some form of justice for those who have been abused in any part of our society.

God has given us freedom, that we have seen some have abused, to sin in horrible ways, and their actions can lead others to sin. May we use our freedom as God meant, to show love, to protect the innocent, and to help those most harmed by sin to realize God’s love for them.

Fr. Nick