St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – March 3, 2019

Hello,

As we begin Lent this week I’m sure many of us are considering what Lenten practices we are considering this Lent regarding fasting, alms-giving, and prayer. One suggestion you might consider regarding prayer is Eucharistic Adoration.

St. Joseph parish has Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Monday thru Thursday from the end of the morning Mass until the beginning of the Noon Mass. The church is also open until the evening and the Eucharist is present in the tabernacle for adoration. This is an opportunity to be present with Christ in a more physical way then we can be other times as Christ has given us the privilege of his real presence in the Eucharist. While we can pray to Him at any time and anywhere, coming to visit Him in the church takes advantage of this gift in the same way visiting a friend or family member does as opposed to just calling, texting or e-mailing. We know that difference matters to us, and we know that difference matters to them.

As with most things worthwhile in our lives, this takes an effort. That can especially seem difficult when we start such a practice. We can be caught up in thinking of the other things we feel we could or should be doing, and even though we are physically present with Christ, our minds are miles away. But that is a start. Eventually we will hopefully be able to slow down a little and relax. Realize the gift we are making to Christ in our visit, but also the gift that we are receiving in His presence and a moment of rest from many demands in our lives.

What do you do during Eucharistic Adoration? You can simply be there in quiet prayer, you might desire to pray the rosary, you might want to read over and reflect on different books of the Bible or daily readings from Mass, or have some other religious reading that you could do, or you could just be there silent in Christ’s presence. I am attaching a few different on-line references that may help give you some different perspectives and practices for Eucharistic Adoration: http://www.catholic-church.org/kuwait/eucharistic_adoration.htm This text gives a straight forward description of Eucharistic Adoration in a bit longer version then I have space for here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4KUk_bFlTk&vl=en (Bishop Barron comments on Eucharistic Adoration) (6:28) This video provides historical examples of those who practiced Adoration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fy7nrWGy8w (What is the point of Eucharistic Adoration?) (4:37) This video discusses a few simple questions people have about Adoration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwwiIkrLxTM (Fr. Mike Schmitz: “The Hour that will Change Your Life”| SEEK2015) (45:48) This video is much longer and is a talk given in preparation for Eucharistic Adoration at a retreat for college students, a little more animated then the others. https://vimeo.com/292133920 A slightly calmer one from a local parish inviting people to Eucharistic Adoration (4:23) If you choose this practice during Lent, by the end you might consider signing up for a regular time to be present for our Eucharistic Exposition. Have a fruitful Lent.

Peace,
Fr. Nick

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Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 24, 2019

Hello,

I’ve been gone on a vacation for the last two weeks to New Zealand. Traveling is always a good way to give you a different perspective on things and this was the first time I have ever been in the Southern Hemisphere where South is considered up. I lost a day going there and gained a different one coming back. They drive on a different side of the road (and the blinkers and windshield washer controls are on the opposite side of the steering wheel – I got a very clean windshield the first day of driving). Prices are in New Zealand and not US dollars. And not only are you dealing with kilometers and liters of gas when you are driving instead of miles and gallons, but the car would tell you your fuel efficiency in liters/100 km (that is comparable to having gallons/100 miles instead of miles per gallon).

These type of experiences can help to not be so quick to judge others simply from our own perspective and history at times but instead to try and understand how they see a situation differently then we might. Realizing that there are absolutes, that a bill will have to be paid whether in one currency or another, or that a distance must be traveled to get somewhere whether we express it in miles or kilometers. There might be different roads we take to get there, but there are definite advantages to working together and using the same side of the road as everyone else on the journey.

Another appreciation is that things can be very complex. While I might be able to start recognizing the differences in perspectives I might have from someone else, that God’s understanding and perspective is at a completely different scale than mine. People have only been on New Zealand for about 800 years, and yet other animals and plants have been there for thousands of years before, and the glaciers, the mountains, the volcanoes have a history of millions of years before then. The world is an incredible place, hopefully we can appreciate it and the God who provided it for us.

Peace,
Fr. Nick


Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – February 17, 2019

Hello,

I guess I’m showing my age a little when I mention that I remember when we celebrated George Washington’s Birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Looking it up I found out that it really only slowly became President’s Day after they had shifted the celebration of Washington’s birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday of February beginning in 1971 due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Basically this act was meant to make federal holidays go to three day weekends instead of keeping the date and letting the day of the week it fell on fluctuate from year to year. The fact that Lincoln’s birthday is February 12th and so now this holiday would be between the two is one reason it began to be referred to as President’s Day instead of just Washington’s Birthday, another one is that businesses started advertising sales that way.

I have to admit that the Church has done similar things, moving some feast days from their date to the closest Sunday. Other holy days of obligation they have declared not holy days of obligation if they fall on a Monday or a Saturday. These can make life easier, not having those extra days that we are obligated to go to Mass, but we have to recognize that it does also diminish them. The Feast of the Ascension seems to get a lot less respect then it did when we celebrated Ascension Thursday. It doesn’t have to, but for most of us it naturally does.

Decreasing the significance of something in our lives, especially when it has to do with our faith, can be risky. It is easy to become just a little less holy than we used to be. But we also have to realize that there are some days that we have not changed like this. Christmas is still Dec. 25th, and Easter is still the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, I won’t go into the details of that but it manages to move Easter from March 22nd through April 25th. I think it would be much easier to just have the first Sunday of April or something like that, but we don’t, and I think that’s good.

The Feast of the Ascension is important and should be celebrated, but we realize it really doesn’t compare with Easter and Christmas. Having this difference in the respect or priority we give these different days is good, and hopefully we reflect that in our thoughts and actions too. When doing this we realize we have the easy option at times which is to simply decrease how we treat the day that has been moved, or we might recognize how this makes the exception for Christmas and Easter even more special and raise our treatment of them. This is up to us. When I was young almost all stores were closed on Sundays and you had to live your life accordingly. Now it is easy to get upset when anything isn’t open at all hours every day including Sunday. Whether this means we keep Sunday more holy or not is up to us. It was definitely more distinct of a day years ago, but that doesn’t mean we kept it as a day of rest or dedicated to God.

With President’s Day we now really don’t have only the day, but we have the whole extended weekend. Maybe we can treat more days, or all days, in a more holy manner?

Peace,
Fr. Nick