August 2017

My Friends,

“…as if they were Christ in disguise”

            The Corporal Words of Mercy – springboards for Christian living – found in and drawn from the Gospels, provide a blueprint for us, Alive in Christ, charting the way we daily live.  They are an incentive for us, habitually, to encounter our brother and sisters “as if they were Christ in disguise”.  The Corporal Works of Mercy are our response to the basic needs of the human family as we journey together through life and on the way Homeward.  They number seven.  They are: to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless, to clothe the naked, to visit the imprisoned, to bury the dead, to give assistance to the poor.

            Visiting the imprisoned was the touchstone of a reflection recently by the Pastoral Associate at one of our neighboring parishes.  What she has to say is practical.  It is provocative.  The words are easy to ready.  They are challenging to put into practice.  You, embodying them, can day by day, be an agent of transformation for good, for God! 

“Visiting the imprisoned.  This Corporal Work of Mercy seems obvious.  We are aware of the incarcerated in our society: they broke a law and are now paying their dues to society.  If they make the proper restitution, serve their sentence, they will be released from their incarceration and allowed to pick up their lives again; hopefully chastened and contrite; and if they never regain their freedom, we pray that they come to know God mercy and forgiveness.  These are the children of God we are called to serve through this Corporal Work of Mercy.

            “However, not all of us are called to prison ministry.  The average person looking to live the literal version of this Corporal Work cannot walk into a jail and ask to visit, it requires proper introduction or alignment with a specific organization.  We might like to practice visiting the imprisoned, but society, in some ways, has placed it out of reach.

            “I don’t think we can get off the hook that easily.  We are challenged to find another way to put this Work into practice.  We are to serve the imprisoned in our community.

            “So who are the imprisoned in our community?  Those who are homebound and those who are lonely.  Those who are struggling with addictions and those who are debilitated with illness.  Those who are overcome in sorrow and those are afflicted with depression.  Those who are challenged by family responsibilities and those who bear the anguish of unfulfilled dreams.  Those who are bound by fear and those who have little hope.  The imprisoned in our community may be next to you in the pew today.  They may be the person who waits on you in the restaurant or grocery store you visit tomorrow.  They may be sitting across from you at the dinner table tonight.

            “Visiting the imprisoned means that we are called to extend the love and compassion, that we have received from God, to those who are trapped in circumstanced of human frailty.  We are called, as Jesus says in St. Matthew’s Gospel, to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world.

            “Through our heartfelt actions, our sympathetic words, our sincere compassion, we help others taste and see God’s goodness and promise, by our example, our outstretched hand, our welcoming attitude, we are a beacon of hope to those who are searching for a way out of their prison.”

A First Alert for Your Calendar

            On Sunday, October 29th, our new Auxiliary Bishop, Mark Rivituso, consecrated bishop in the Cathedral Basilica on May 2nd, has asked to celebrate the 10:30 Mass with us as he makes his initial pastoral visits to each parish in the Archdiocese.

            Bishop Rivituso, 55, was ordained priest of St. Louis in 1988 by Archbishop John May.  He has served in several parishes in the Archdiocese, taught in a number of our Archdiocesan High Schools, obtained a License (Masters Degree) in Canon Law, and has served most recently in Archdiocesan administration while continuing to be involved in parish ministry.

            His visit coincidentally coincides with the 170th anniversary of the founding of this parish, and the 157th anniversary of the dedication of this church.

            Following Mass there will be an informal reception, in the parish hall, so that Bishop Rivituso has chance to meet you. 

            No matter your “usual” preferred Sunday Mass, I encourage all in this parish family to participate in this celebration of the 10:30 Mass & to greet Bishop Rivituso in the parish hall afterwards.  Grace, here, will be abounding!

This Old House

            In the last year there have been multiple issues which needed repair, replacement or restoration in the church, the rectory, the parish hall, and around the parish campus.  With the ever-ready assistance of John Maguire, and of our Archdiocesan Building and Real Estate director, and several other consultants whose expertise with respect to some of the issues was necessary, we have been able to address them.  That is an important part of our responsible stewardship of this significant part of the patrimony of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

            The repair, replacement, restoration has included: 1)  fencing on the front plaza of the church, 2)  repair of the chipped and cracked concrete planter boxes on the plaza and sealing of the decorative concrete plaza surface, 3)  removal of large and dead trees on the east end of the parking lot,  4)  replacement of a major gas pipe,  5)  repair (finally we hope after 60 years) of the recurring water infiltration in the rectory roof,  6)  replacement of the 8 year old computer in the parish office,  7)  replastering of water-damaged ceilings on the rectory second floor,  8) repainting of those ceilings and restoration of some blistered/cracked walls in the rectory and in  the church,  and 9)  repainting of the interior main entrance church doors and of the exterior door frames and window arches.  In early August, then, the several significant cracks and settling of the church parking lot will be repaired and then the entire lot will be sealed and restriped.

            There are other issues, especially in the rectory and parish hall, which we are deferring for the present.  One is a significant plumbing issue related to the age and type of pipes in all of the 60 year old rectory restrooms.  The other is the periodic occurrence of a noxious gas-like odor which originates in the parish hall but then wafts up into the rectory.  We have had multiple consults to identify the source and eliminate the odor.  That assessment is ongoing.  And there is a significant issue with two of our principal floodlights illuminating the parking lot at night. Neither functions any longer.  Both must be replaced.  One would entail significant underground work on electrical wiring.  For the present, because of the lighting installed by City View owners for the perimeters of their properties, and through their generosity, light also adequately illuminates our campus.

            The total cost of the work already, or soon-to-be, completed is slightly over $30,000.  We are blessed, because of your regular stewardship generosity in support of our mission and ministry, and because of the generosity of those before us, on who shoulders we stand, that these expenses could be paid from our funds on deposit.  It was not necessary to draw on our parish reserve funds.  My intention is that we not do so.  If and when parishes do that, often the Archdiocesan Finance Office places them on a watch-list, for regular review to assure their long term viability.

“…you did it to Me”

            The 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal in the Archdiocese, funding “people programs” that benefit one half million children & adults in our metropolitan community, nears its formal conclusion. 

            Our archdiocesan-set-goal was just over $39,500. 

            To date your gifts this year total $41,600!

            There is a grace-period for final contributions before the formal conclusion of the Appeal on 16 August 2017.  If you have not yet had the opportunity to make your gift you can do so by mailing it to the parish office, or placing it in the baskets when the stewardship offerings are gathered at Masses.

            Those one-half-million children & adults who benefit from your generosity are most grateful!

The Assumption of Mary Holyday

            The Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, Tuesday, August 15th, is a Holyday of Obligation.

            Mass will be celebrated here at 7:10 AM.

            Noon-time Masses, for those who prefer that hour, are celebrated at the Old Cathedral on the Riverfront at 12:10 noon and at St Francis Xavier (College Church) at Lindell & Grand at 12:00 noon.

In Brief

            We pray for Grace Griffin, mother of Greg Griffin, that following her passing at her home in Florida, she now sees God face to face.  We pray for Greg, and all in the family, that God give them grace and peace now always.  On Sunday, September 10th, the 10:30 Mass here will be offered for Greg’s mother.  All are invited to pray for her with us.  Family and friends of the Griffins may join us.  Afterwards Greg and Laura will host an informal reception in the parish hall to express their appreciation for the support and prayers of so many during the final illness and passing of his mother.

            Two years ago a number of you were here when we anointed little Emee Lankheit, daughter of parishioners Justin and Melissa Lankheit, and sister of big brother Luke, before surgery for brain cancer.  Chemo and radiation treatment followed.  We prayed weekly for months for Emee.  Recently a number of you have inquire about her.  Recently she had a regular check-up with the pediatric oncologist.  Results indicate that now she has been cancer-free for two years.  Melissa and Justin are vocal about their belief that it is so because of the power of prayer and of the compassionate care of the medical team.  And they are grateful!

            The Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York, John Barres, regular uses social media to communicate with his diocese.  He is insightful.  He is practical.  Recently, on successive days, he Tweeted two provocative challenges about parish life.  Think about them:  “For a parish to actually be a “family of families” calls for concrete actions of hospitality and generosity.” and “There is no substitute for ordinary parishioners simply befriending and serving one another.”

Monsignor Delaney