St. Joseph Catholic Church

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 4, 2018


I saw a movie about five years ago and just saw it again last night on PBS, “Searching for Sugar Man”. It is a documentary about a musician, a singer and songwriter (Sixto Rodriguez) who made a couple of albums around 1970 and sold almost none in the United States. The reason for the movie is that his albums became incredibly popular in South Africa to the point that some describe him as bigger than Elvis in South Africa. But neither Rodriguez, who is described as a simple laborer, or anyone else in the United States knew of his fame, and everyone in South Africa thought that Rodriguez had died, with a variety of different rumors of how he died. But that eventually leads to the climax of the movie when two South Africans in the late 1990’s, who were trying to find out something about him and exactly how he died, find he is alive and make contact, bringing him to South Africa to perform.

So now comes the reason I’m bringing this up, Rodriguez’s response. He goes to South Africa with two of his daughters not having a clue what to expect, maybe a couple dozen people, and he ends up playing a concert for thousands of people. His daughters are shocked at his reception, he has trouble staying in fancy hotels, and the people can’t believe it is this guy they thought was dead for decades. And in the concert he just falls into place, singing and playing the songs as everyone remembers, and then he goes back to Detroit and his daily life. Interviews in South Africa he barely says anything in, and the money he makes from this he mostly spends on family and friends, staying in his same apartment and going back to work like before. It is obvious from some people’s reactions in the movie that there is some concern about what might be or had gone on about royalties for all the albums sold and where the money went, but he doesn’t seem involved in that. Rodriguez is shown as happy that so many people enjoy his music, and goes on with his life. Fame does not phase him, he doesn’t hide from it there, but doesn’t seek it out or assume a different attitude because of it. When he gets back to Detroit he is back to his life as if what happened in South Africa never happened.

Seeing the movie it is striking how humble Rodriguez appears. But even more than that it reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa, “God doesn’t ask us to be successful, but to be faithful.” Rodriguez probably would have had a career in music if he had known he was so successful in the 1970’s, but he isn’t bitter or upset about this, and seems to have kept faithful to his ideals. Can I live my faith that way? Not worrying about the response I get, but staying faithful to my values and beliefs whether I appear successful or not. In this season of Lent do we pray, or fast, or give alms for others to see, or because God asks us to, and we know we should. St. Joseph, your parents, consider who’s example may help encourage you to not worry so much about reward or the reaction of others, but rather what you know you should do.

Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 25, 2018


This week we have begun an Adult Faith program called “Catholicism: The Pivotal Players”. It addresses 6 different people through the history of the Church and started with St. Francis of Assisi. One of the key points they make about St. Francis is that while he is known for living in poverty, abandoning all worldly goods to serve God, and for his care and love for the poor, they make the point that Francis did not come to his love for Christ out of his love for the poor, but rather that his love for Christ led him to his love for the poor. I bring this up early in Lent because I think it is a good thing to be aware of in ourselves, especially as we may be choosing and trying to live out certain Lenten practices of fasting, alms-giving, and prayer. Consider how we are motivated to do these things and what changes they may have on us.

I think most of us probably do not have quite as radical of a conversion as Francis did when he decided to devote his life to God. But even Francis I think grew some from both manners. While his primary first change may have been his love for God that led him to recognize and care for the poor, but I believe his care for the poor then further helped him to grow in his love for God. Sometimes doing something that is good, and getting into the habit of it and developing a virtue, may not be something we really want to do, but we are doing for a penance or a discipline. But over time we start recognizing the value of it, both for others and ourselves, and feel the blessing of being able to do this, and even though it still takes labor, or sacrifice, or work, but we wouldn’t consider not doing it. Ideally this helps us also to grow in our love for God, in recognizing the blessings he gives us, and also the way in which he can be a blessing for others through us.

In the Gospel reading from this last Monday (MT 25:31-46) we heard the people saying they did not know when they helped God, when they fed, welcomed, clothed, or cared for him and Jesus says “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Obviously doing the good deeds is worthwhile, and we hear Christ saying how appreciative God is for them, but it can be even more if we actually let it change us, and to increase our love both for our neighbor and for God.

As we continue in our Lenten practices hopefully we can stay faithful to them. But also we hopefully don’t just ‘complete’ them, but we let them change us, to grow in our practical virtues but also in our love and awareness of God in our lives.

Fr. Nick

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 18, 2018


Last Saturday Fr. Tom Schaab, our associate pastor, suffered a stroke that resulted in his death on Monday evening. He had suffered from numerous medical concerns in the past, from his heart to his hips and also strokes, but he had continued to serve us and God faithfully especially in his ministry of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession. Not only was he usually there for an hour to hear Confessions before the weekday noon Masses, (it is only scheduled for 11:15-11:50, but he was there by 11 and there was usually a line waiting) but if he could he would go back after Mass and it seemed like more and more people were taking advantage of that also. And this was all after he suffered from some of his medical concerns. The following is a list of all the places he has been assigned in his 43+ years serving as a priest:
1974, June 5: Assoc. Pastor, Immacolata,
1976, June 2: Part time Assoc. Pastor St. Puis V / on staff at DuBourg HS
1978, May 25: Part time Assoc. Pastor, St. Luke / Teaching at Mercy HS
1978, Oct 16: Part time Assoc. Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes (U-City) / Teaching at Mercy HS
1981, June 2: Part time Assoc. Pastor, St. Robert (St. Charles) / Teaching at Duchesne HS
1984, June 26: Part time Assoc. Pastor, Sacred Heart (Valley Park) / Teaching at Kennedy HS
1986, June 5: Part time Assoc. Pastor, St. Clare of Assisi (Ellisville)/ Teaching at Kennedy HS
1988, June 22: Full time Assoc. Pastor, St. Clare of Assisi (Ellisville)
1990, June 20: Assoc. Pastor, Resurrection
1992, June 20: Pastor, Our Lady of Fatima
2000, April 10: Granted Medical Leave
2000, Sept. 5: Senior Assoc. Pastor, St. Justin Martyr
2001, Nov 16: Pastor, St. Christopher
2005, July 5: Senior Assoc. Pastor, St. Joseph (Clayton)

As you can see, they moved priests a lot when they were teaching. We were fortunate to have him for his longest stay of over 12 years and while I have been here we were also able to celebrate his 40th ordination anniversary in 2014.

I am extremely grateful for the years of ministry he has provided, but also for being able to live with him here for almost five years and witness his ministry and the affects he allowed Christ to work through him. Being the beginning of Lent may be a good opportunity to let his memory inspire us to be open to God’s graces in the sacraments, and to say a prayer for Fr. Schaab when you hear his wind chimes off the back porch of the rectory.

Fr. Nick