Category: From the Pastor

First Down (June 18, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

Happy Father’s Day! To all the men who are Fathers or take on that role in whatever capacity we turn our thoughts and prayers to you this day.

In working with young people there can be experiences we can encounter where we see some struggle in a young person’s life that can be traced to the absence of a Father or male role model in their lives. We know that Mother’s Day is a big

celebration in our country, and for good reason, yet for Father’s Day there is a different tone. For my own reflection of what I see in many lives is the consequences of what happens when a Father is not present. This speaks to me of the extreme importance of men’s roles in leaving families, molding lives, offering a guiding presence. I would say that one does not know or appreciate what one has until it is no longer there.

Men, your role is so vital to the make up of a family. The gifts of male love might be for some difficult to always see. At other times the male love makes a big impact on the lives of families and on the lives of others in the community. I love watching the coaches I work with at Sunnyslope and other coaches we encounter through visiting and competing against and I am amazed of the sacrifices of time they make to young people who are not their own flesh and blood. I also see many men who in their own unique ways lead by example, provide for their loved ones, work together for good causes. I think it just is not celebrated openly as it could be.

What I do know is this, that when there is no male role model for others there is a huge void. When daughters have good Fathers, their lives are rich in many ways. When sons have good Fathers their energy is pointed in directions that put sons gift to better things. When Fathers fall short in realizing how important they are to others it causes so heartache that many times is so deep that others can not even see or understand the pain.

I pray for all men this day as we honor all Fathers and men who are such role models for others. Sometimes others may not comprehend what you bring to the table and when that gift is no longer present it leaves a void. That is how important you are even if others may not see it that way or their experience is different.

Happy Father’s Day!

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

First Down (June 11, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

For those who have experienced many summers here in the Valley, we have seen somewhat of a change in what people do in the summer. I can remember years ago that many parishes really did not have much going on, activity wise, during the hot summer months. Many people would travel up north or towards different parts of the country to avoid the heat or take an extended summer vacation. Now for parishes, especially ours, the activities/ ministries are still ongoing during these months. The building use of wear and

tear are now year round. That’s a good challenge to have. That means there is blessing of life here at St. Patrick.

This fact is a good reminder for all parishioners that your financial support to the parish needs to be year round. The air conditioning units on our grounds number about 41 and they take a good beating. We maintain them but some units are getting older. The use of our building demands that we are good stewards and take steps to be sure all that is necessary works properly. I mentioned in a recent announcement at Mass that we host many groups that serve the greater community and when we host these groups, we do not charge anything for the use. It is our stewardship to the people/community at large that we use our resources to serve them.

This means we need all parishioners to continue to be generous in the work of this parish. It is important to know of the many ministries, many ways we serve Catholics and everyone in our area, in the Valley and even the State.

Please see fit to continue giving even when you are gone for summer break. The needs of people do not take a break during the summer. To give automatically, please contact the parish office to receive help in making this happen. Also, for those who like to make a special gift to the parish to get through the summer months, it would be a fantastic way to meet the heavy use our buildings take during the summer.

The entire parish population is responsible for the great ripple effect that come from our sacred grounds. The many gatherings that give information, knowledge, nourishment and God’s blessings is what we must support. Our buildings serve those who come each Sunday, those who have no spiritual home because they do not see the need for sacraments or feel lost or confused. We offer funerals for those who have no spiritual home, we prepare couples for marriage who have not been practicing the faith, yet we meet them where they are. We bring many back into active community faith because of many of you.

Thank you for your commitment. It is needed, it is important, it is what we Christians do who are on mission.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric

Sacrament of Reconciliation

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Sin ruptures not only our relationship with God but also with our brothers and sisters. By the nourishing light of the Holy Spirit, we are able to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by examining our consciences to identify those ways in which we are not in right relationship with God and with others. This examination also challenges us to recognize our own participation in the “structures of sin” that degrade others’ lives and dignity. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God offers mercy and forgiveness. In response to this gift, we are called to become vehicles of Christ’s love, making amends and restoring justice and the bonds that have been broken.

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Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

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In the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.

The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.

When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.

 

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First Down (June 4, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

There is no doubt that this parish is a busy place. Every day there are ministries, groups, guests, Masses and outside groups that use our space to gather, proclaim their message, break it open then send those involved out into the community to serve. Many parishioners may not fully comprehend what our parish community does 365 days a year. In our tight spaces we have set ups for around 450 events, from the simple to the huge. I always like to say we are like Denny’s: our space is used 365 days a year.

A gift to the parish is there are people who are hired to set up, clean, repair broken things and assist those in need during their event , whatever that event might be. Many times people come into our space unaware of how much work has gone into making sure everything is set properly and maintained. Yet, I want to ask parishioners to take a moment and become aware of these people who offer maintenance and assistance to St. Patrick.

 

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Meet the team that works so hard to make sure everything runs smoothly. If we have air conditioning working, it’s because our team makes sure it works. Clean facilities? Thank this team. Set up and breaking down for events? Thank this team. Needing direction, tour the place, help with moving supplies to the Church. Thank this team.

I ask God to bless our team. Without them, it would be impossible to do the amount of work we do. With them, the burden is lightened. When you see one of these team members in their green work shirts, please make every effort to acknowledge their hard work.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric

Go Vikings! Go Special Teams!

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As many of you know, I coach Special Teams for the Sunnyslope Vikings. I wanted to share this article from AZ Central with you as we are getting ready for an exciting 2017 season… Go Vikings! Go Special Teams!

Click the image or the link below to read it now!

  • Fr. Eric

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2017/05/19/sunnyslope-working-leave-no-doubt-making-football-playoffs/326120001/

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Homily, The Ascension of the Lord, May 28, 2017

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From the Acts of the Apostles we hear that the 11 disciples receive final instructions from Jesus before he ascends to heaven. They must of felt abandoned, lost and confused as the physical presence of Jesus is not there in the same way. The Spirit is sent to us to teach and guide us. How can we really be sure that we are following the right path of Jesus when there seems to be different opinions and thoughts? Today’s homily gives a path to follow in learning what God wants us to know.

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First Down (May 28, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

God is well aware that humanity falls short of the ideal. How God created us to be and what we are at times, can find us in very difficult circumstances. Human beings at times can rise to the occasion of solving conflict. Violence can be avoided and working through problems and listening to other’s concerns has happened many times throughout human history. Our better selves prevailed. At other times humanity cannot or will not solve a conflict by peaceful means and the act of war happens. War causes unbelievable

damage to the human body, mind and spirit. It is hard to figure out the last time peace, the absence of war, was the way of all humanity.

Many people do not have the power to influence world leaders, nations or groups to work through disagreements, fears and conflict. Without a moment’s notice a nation could find itself at war and violence is inflicted on people. In our helplessness, people may find themselves forced into situations where violence seems to be the only option left. Due to evil intentions and horrible acts against humanity, war might be seen as the only option that good people have remaining. When dialogue has broken down, the worst acts in humanity can happen.

God will need to make sense of all this when we meet him face to face. Yet these circumstances see brave men and women who step forward and are ready to risk their lives to serve country. There have been a great many that have died for trying to do what is right in service of country. Decisions to go to war are made by a few and whether they are right or wrong decisions, God will hold accountable the leaders who have been given the authority to make such decisions. That is why leaders must constantly be prayed for as this is a tremendous burden.

This weekend allows our country to remember those who have died in the service of our country and to grieve with families who have suffered the painful loss of loved ones’ lives. We need to remember that freedom and peace always come with great responsibility.

These men and women, who have gone to war by the authority of leaders, can only do what they believe to be right. Everyone is dependent on people who come forward to preserve the peace, to protect those in harm’s way and to meet evil head on and stop it.

As we honor and remember those who have paid the highest price for service of country, this does not remove the call to examine our consciences. To know God’s plan does not include violence; we should work for peace to protect and serve all. Many times as humans we fall short; war is mankind’s cruelest act. At the same time we must remember those who have heard the call to serve and responded. Without their sacrifice our lives would not be the same.

Before you take the time to enjoy the holiday, take time to remember the price that many people paid and that peace is the ultimate goal of mankind.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric

First Down (May 21, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

A most difficult challenge for many pastors is trying to bring people with many different thoughts on life together as a family of God. What Catholicism teaches is that its community leaders must strive to offer unity to people of different ideologies, philosophies on life, political thought and different backgrounds. A pastor needs to build unity by reminding all kinds of people of our common purpose in life. They must use language that is unifying and inviting. They should try to see the good in peoples’ hearts that have views

that might not exactly align with the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is a tight rope, a constant challenge to bridge all kinds of people together. It is hard work. Yet this is what makes our Catholic faith great.

Pope Francis is no doubt a world leader. Catholicism has footprints in every country in the world. The Mass is celebrated in every part of the world, even in areas that seek to wipe it out. The Pope and pastors throughout the world must have concerns that go beyond church self-interest. Catholicism’s true nature forces one to work with every race and nation on the face of the earth. It must seek to build bridges and work for peace and unity. This world goes in constant cycles, and the cycle we are seeing now is one where many nations are looking inwardly, seeking to isolate from outside influences, not knowing how to properly handle the greatest migrant problems since World War II. Even our country has heard voices saying, “America First,” and some Catholics echo that statement. Yet, Catholicism is too important to every nation on earth to not work for unity.

World leaders constantly travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis. He is invited to many countries to visit leaders and recently visited a very dangerous country for Christians, the country of Egypt. And at the end of this month, President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis. What a mystery to me. A man who oversees the most powerful military country on earth is seeking to meet a man who is only armed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who can have a simple man like Francis, have access to power, and be able to speak truth. Whatever reason one might think why this meeting is good or not, the real point is this, the Catholic faith must seek to work with and be present to every people and every land. The language of Church leadership is not one of mocking, degrading and taunting other people. The language must be given great thought and care that brings forth the best in all people.

Catholicism is more than one parish, one diocese, one country or even one hemisphere; it is to be present for and represent every person on earth. It seeks to serve all. It matters little to me if people like a Pope meet with our president or not. What is true is world leaders seek this man out to meet with him. Most world leaders know that the Pope’s agenda is not only for one country’s concerns, rather the Pope seeks to shepherd every country with what is good from God.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric

First Down (May 14, 2017)

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Dear Friends,

Over the many years I have come to believe that the role of being a mother is more than just having one woman be given that name by us. To me it is a vocation of motherhood. The example I would use is the number of times throughout my life where I have witnessed someone who already has a loving mother in their lives, give to another woman also the title of being their mother. They would tell this other woman you are my mother while I am away from my family home. College students would let grandmother-type women have the title, “you are my

second mom,” or ” while living over here you can be my mother.” In other words, motherhood is really a vocation, a vocation that any woman can choose to respond to, a beautiful way of life.

Today we can begin by honoring first of all the women who really are first moms for us. Whether our moms gave birth to us, adopted us or became our guardian, these women happen to have the title “mother” already without us choosing, they simply are our mothers. For others, they might have decided to give the title “mother” to a particular woman: maybe a special woman who nurtured us when we first left home, maybe a woman who acted like a grandmother to us or maybe someone who really comforted us and the relationship led the person to say, “I will call you my second mother because you have shown qualities that are beautiful.”

Whatever our story, we often come across women throughout our lives who were the embodiment of the vocation of motherhood. These women showed love and caring in such powerful ways that someone was moved to say, “You are just like my mother.”

So each year we offer a blessing at Mass for all mothers. We bless those mothers who have given birth to their children, as well as mothers who have adopted. We include women who become mothers in blended families and those women who have shared love, support and kindness to those in need. We bless those who might have been the motherly influence on someone who really needed such a gift during a difficult time in their lives.

I hope that many women stand up for our yearly blessing at Mass for all mothers. Whenever a woman takes on the role of mother, she lives out this beautiful vocation.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone in our parish community. Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric