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 14, 2023

My dad was adopted as a baby. It’s a big part of my family’s story. His birth mother placed him in a Catholic orphanage not long after birth. A young couple longing for a baby strolled among the bassinets. My father, then only a few months old, looked at the husband and smiled. The man said, “That’s my son.” They took him home and the family grew. This moment of adoption was a wonderful truth they celebrated even when my dad was a young boy. They told him, “You’re even more special than the other children, because we chose you to be our son.” My dad’s eyes well up with tears of gratitude whenever he tells the story, even eighty-three years later.

What is your story? Do we think or act like unwanted orphans? Who do we believe ourselves to be? As we continue to ponder Jesus’ resurrection, we hear him say to us this Sunday, “I will not leave you orphans.” God doesn’t leave us alone like spiritual orphans. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of Adoption. He chooses us to be His children, to share God’s life forever. He gives us a future filled with hope. We are not orphans anymore! This Easter, that’s the story we should share with others. It’s the true story we are living right now.

— Father John Muir ©LPi


Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – May 7, 2023

If you had to summarize the essential core of the Christian life, what would it be? Mercy, truth, or love, perhaps? The readings today suggest another word which may surprise you. That word is priesthood.

St. Peter says to us, “You are a ‘chosen race, a royal priesthood…” To be part of a priesthood is to offer a particular sacrifice in order for the community to survive and thrive. Jesus is the great high priest because he offers the one perfect sacrifice which heals and perfects the entire human race. Peter the Apostle wants us to know that all the baptized share in this priestly ministry. The whole of our lives, including every detail, is meant to become our acceptable offering to God.

The baptized exercise this priesthood in many ways, I’ll mention three. At Sunday Mass, in private prayer, and in daily work. At Mass, we offer the sacrifice of our lives with that of the priest, who symbolizes Christ the Priest. In our prayer, a “morning offering” prayer is a great way to offer up all the joys and sufferings of the day to come. In our daily work, we sacrifice our time, comfort, money, and energy to do good for others. All this gives the deepest possible meaning to our lives: we share in the priesthood which saves the world. That’s at the core of our faith.

— Father John Muir ©LPi

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – April 30, 2023

Question: Does it matter what leg you kneel on when genuflecting?

Answer: Genuflection is an act of devotion that literally means “to bend the knee.” For many Catholics, it’s an almost automatic gesture that we perform before entering our pew or row of seats at Mass. But, like many of the symbols and gestures of our faith tradition, genuflecting can also be an invitation for deeper reflection.

The practice of “bending the knee” is an ancient way of recognizing the presence of someone greater than we are. It has been said that the practice dates back to the time of Alexander the Great, but it became a common part of etiquette in the royal courts of the Middle Ages. From throne rooms and palaces, it was a small step to genuflecting, becoming part of the devotional lives of Christians who used this secular gesture as a way of recognizing the presence of the One who is King of Kings, especially in the Eucharist. In our tradition, although many have been taught or prefer to genuflect by placing their right knee on the ground, there is no prescribed way to genuflect. This is especially important to keep in mind if physical limitations or age make certain movements difficult for us.

Today, Catholics are asked to genuflect in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament(whether in the tabernacle or exposed on the altar during eucharistic adoration). So, while it has become second nature to genuflect before entering your seat in church, we should pay attention to where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in each church or chapel we visit, and genuflect in the direction of the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. In churches or chapels in which the tabernacle is in a separate space, we are invited to simply bow toward the altar.