Entries for May 2023

From Our Pastor...

Posted on May 26, 2023 in: Pastor


When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon the Apostles. He reminded them that He would be with them always until the end of time. With that, Jesus showed great trust and confidence in His Apostles by sending them out to make disciples of all the nations. For the three years the Apostles had been with Jesus they saw how the Savior always cared for the poor and the needy. By his actions Jesus taught them that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

One of the great ways to follow the direction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit has been through the ministry of our St. Vincent dePaul Society. I thank GEOFF MORRISON for this beautiful tribute that he has written:

BRIGGS HOFFMANN changed our lives.

Marilyn and I retired from full-time teaching in the School District of Clayton in 1998. Briggs waited perhaps two weeks before recruiting me for the Annunziata Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Before I knew quite what was happening, he and I were driving to south St. Louis to visit several Bosnian refugee families.

In 1980 or 81, the Annunziata Conference of the St. Vincent dePaul Society was established, led by David Blanton and Briggs Hoffmann. When Mr. Blanton died in 1982, Briggs took over and led the organization for the next eighteen years. Under his leadership, ministries were established in North and South St. Louis and in East St. Louis, funded by Annunziata parishioners. Vincentians help the poor and refugees with rent and utilities payments, food, clothing and household items. They also intervene, on behalf of their clients with utility companies, landlords, and, sometimes, the police. They provide job and legal information. Known only by their first names, Vincentians provide a helping hand and a lot of encouragement.

As Briggs and I got to know each other in 1998, I asked him what motivated him to devote so much of his time to SVDP. He said that during World War II, his unit was pinned down before terrific cannon and tank fire during the Battle of the Bulge. When there was a pause, he stood up and only a sergeant also stood. Every man in his company had been killed. Since there would be patrols searching for survivors, the two men split up to make their way west to the main US Army. When the firing resumed, Briggs spied a barn, where he hid for three days. Finally, he rejoined the army and marched into Germany by the end of the war. But in the years that followed, he wondered why he had been saved. Did God have some plan for him?

When I joined in 1998, Briggs introduced me to the Bosnian refugee population, many of whom were Muslim, displaced by the Balkan War. Later, we served Afghans, Pakistanis and many Africans, in addition to a large U.S. native population. My wife, Marilyn became involved initially because Muslim widows are not allowed to have unaccompanied men in their homes. Later, French-speaking Marilyn communicated with Africans from former French colonies. We were grateful to Briggs because he showed us the face of poverty and the desperation of immigrants who were driven from their homes by violence. He showed us the poverty in our own U.S. Through his influence, we discovered a rich new area of service. It changed our lives in a good way.

“Our general rule is that we spend $100 per family - that is unless the Holy Spirit tells you differently.” Growing up in the 1950s, the “Holy Ghost” was a vague aspect of my Catholic belief. But Briggs taught me, and later Marilyn, that the Holy Spirit is real. It’s that voice in your mind that says, “This family needs a little more money, a little more attention.” To understand this phenomenon, one has to experience it. We are grateful to Briggs for enlarging our understanding of our own faith.

Finally, Briggs taught us the power of Christian love. In 2009-10, I was treated for cancer. During the grueling five months of surgery and chemotherapy, Briggs and Don Carmody brought communion to Marilyn and me each non-hospital day. Since Don was still working, Briggs appeared most frequently. Each day, there would be prayers, communion, and a few words of encouragement. Invariable, our 88 year old friend would exit saying, “Now, if you two need anything, just call me.”

By coincidence, Cardinal player and announcer, Mike Shannon, died at the time of Briggs’ funeral. Monsignor Leykam asked me to serve his mass. As I sat on the altar during the private mass, a couple of thoughts came to mind. First, if all the people whom Briggs helped during his 100 year life attended his funeral, there would have been no empty pews or aisles. Second, Briggs certainly “re-paid” God for saving his life at the Battle of the Bulge! Finally, if Mike Shannon was the most loved St. Louisan, Briggs Hoffmann was the most loving St. Louisan.

May you rest in peace, old soldier. You fought the good fight. You finished the race.

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on May 19, 2023 in: Pastor


Jesus said to them, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Good evangelization has to be a dialogue where the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes, and concerns for loved ones, or so many other heartfelt needs. It is so important to listen and care, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

After listening, bring up God’s Word, perhaps by a Bible verse or relating a story. This is fundamentally important. None of us is as smart as the Sacred Scripture. When people have questions, go to the Bible for answers. You don’t need to know much. For instance, it is surprising how many issues the Beatitudes apply to. If you can flesh out the lesson with a personal story, better still.

As a final step, if it seems prudent and if the circumstances are right, this fraternal and missionary encounter could end with a brief prayer related to the concerns which the person may have expressed. This is a gutsy move. But it is also the kind of thing that seems less weird the more you try it.

Praying with somebody does three things: it demonstrates your concern—you don’t want to win an argument; you want them to be healed and happy. It teaches the person what prayer looks like. Many people you meet might have never heard someone pray. Of course, it brings God right down into the midst of you.

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on May 12, 2023 in: Pastor


Writing in the fourth century, St. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the early Church Fathers, tells us “What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the Godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every person that has been Baptized and Confirmed.” The Lord does not come in bodily form, for we “no longer know Christ according to the flesh”, but Christ dwells in us spiritually and God the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each one of us.

Our Parish recognizes and congratulates all of our teens who prepared for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our gratitude to Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, who conferred the Sacrament Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

  • Charles Edward Balcer
  • Claire Benoist
  • Andrew Taylor Bryan, Jr.
  • Selena Christine Burris
  • Genevieve Therese Clever
  • Charles Joseph Cusumano
  • Katherine Ashley Gray
  • Matthew David Hardin
  • John Michael Hawkins
  • Jane Emily Holland Hill
  • Robert Emmett McIntosh
  • Eleanor Jane McLaughlin
  • Mackenzie Ann Murphy
  • Robert Capps Rose
  • Ismael Salazar
  • Elizabeth Grace Varley
  • Adam Joseph Frigerio


Today we pray for our Mothers living and deceased, we also pray for spiritual Mothers, for single Mothers, for step Mothers, for Mothers who have miscarried, and for Mothers whose children have died.

A young child asks Mom, “Who am I?” In the words of a great preacher and theologian, Peter Gomes, the Mother replies, “You are formed by God, nourished by God’s love, preserved by God’s mercy, and expectant of God’s promises. You are the human expression of the divine hope. You are God’s best and last chance in the world. Who are You? That is who you are. You are all that and more. And for that, we praise God!”

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; a Mother’s secret hope outlives them all. Remember, Mother is the name for God on the lips and in the hearts of little children.

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From Our Pastor...

Posted on May 05, 2023 in: Pastor


In this month of May, dedicated to Mary, Mother of God and Our Blessed Mother, we focus on the Family. Many of us grew up praying the family rosary. We all recognize the insight, “The Family that prays together, stays together!” Pope Francis has given us a prayer to offer throughout this month:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love; to you we turn with trust. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches. Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection, and division; may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing. Holy Family of Nazareth, make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.



As a parish, we rejoice and congratulate our girls and boys who received the Risen Christ for the first time in the great Sacrament of the Eucharist last Saturday morning.

  • August V. (Gussie) Hager
  • Travis (Trent) Nardini
  • Evelyn (Evie) Holton
  • Jameson Pienkos
  • Ryann Jouris
  • Katherine (Kate) Roberts
  • Caitlin Luby
  • Quinn Stemmermann
  • Harper Luby
  • Raymon Stokes
  • Evelyn (Evie) Mandel
  • Liam Wilson
  • Mary Mueller

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